The increasing need for travel advisors to move into a true consultancy or concierge-style role is illustrated by two stories in this week's Travel Advisor Innovation Report.
One looks at the challenge of satisfying the luxury traveler, who expects top-level service without being insulated from local experiences, sometimes in destinations where sanitation and safety are in question. These travelers may want the upscale resort, but they also want to sample street fare and get a sense of how the locals live. In these cases, travel advisors really have to hone their destination knowledge and vet overseas partners in order to deliver on their clients' mixed bag of expectations.
The other is a conversation with consultant/educator Nolan Burris, who for nearly 20 years has advocated that travel agencies base their business model on service fees rather than commissions. While fees have become standard practice, he says many travel advisors still have a long way to go in reaping the rewards of charging for their expertise. It's time to take it to the next level. The key, he says, is a proactive, unapologetic approach to packaging and selling service.
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