As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and stumble our way to resuming life in a somewhat normal manner, many of us are grasping for how post-pandemic life is going to work. From the lockdowns to the global supply chain disruptions, the travel industry — among others — has been acutely affected by all of this. Now is an ideal time to reflect on the nature of travel and how people should plan to interact with travel professionals in the future.
In some ways, the travel industry is returning to normal. Cruises are back in full-force, hotels are filling up, and people are traveling to release their pent-up desires to get back out into the world. This is all a good thing.
However, the return to “the way things were” has some issues that we need to address. One is the need to truly adopt sustainable travel practices. The other is to treat people in the travel industry as professionals and not just sources of free labor.
What do I mean? Free labor? Don’t travel professionals earn commissions? Don’t they work for companies where they earn a paycheck? What is the problem here?
The problem is — there is a subset of people out there who receive advice and guidance from a travel professional, but who ultimately move on to book travel themselves, plan their own trips, or look for a different company. This leads to a waste of time and effort by the travel professional and, most importantly, the lack of payment for services rendered. It’s that “Let’s get something for nothing” mentality at play here. And it’s not right.
You don’t expect other service professionals to give free advice. You shouldn’t expect travel professionals to give free advice, either. Also, the commissions that travel professionals receive are often quite small or not even available. Hence, it’s a rather peculiar situation in the travel business where consumers think they can receive services, but not necessarily pay for them. This is bad for the travel industry, bad for travel professionals, and a situation that needs to stop.
After all, travel is about people. And people are about relationships, about trust, about working together, and about having a common purpose. Consumers should search for a travel company that fits their values, their interests, and their travel goals, and then develop a long-term relationship with that company. Travel companies should expect to provide a comprehensive level of service that goes above-and-beyond what people expect. In this way, everyone ultimately wins.
Want another reason why you should develop a strong relationship with a travel advisor? Read this: https://seadogtravels.com/2022/12/15/travel-advisors-solve-problems/.
So, the next time you go searching for assistance from a travel professional, keep all of this in mind. It’s about building a relationship — and having an open discussion about travel needs, services, and expectations is the first step in building a truly valuable travel relationship.