Paying attention to the latest travel trends can pay big dividends for the travel advisor.
According to Kristy Mosolino, owner of Wishes Travel in Birmingham, Alabama "Knowing the trends that are in demand is so important in staying ahead of the game. And as travel advisors, it's up to me and my team to stay on top of what travelers are looking for on their vacations."
Mosolino says this is done by staying informed, building knowledge and establishing a good infrastructure. "Once we're aware of the new upcoming travel trends from various resources, we begin to plan ahead. She adds "There's a lot of training materials out there to help us learn more about a destination. In addition, we work to increase and foster the necessary supplier relationships."
Regarding these trends, Mosolino says that for her agency, the biggest buzz is Europe. "Europe travel is really hot right now. Popular destinations increase the demand and affect airline availability especially during peak season. If families want to travel during these more-in-demand times, we encourage them to book early. We capitalize on the sense of urgency and as a result, our clients get their European dream vacation."
She also adds that families wanting to travel to more than one destination within Europe are looking to do so by train, another 2023 trend. "So, we have to be good on handling the logistics such as air, rail and hotel stays so travelers can wander their way through their favorite cities."
After the isolation requirements of the global pandemic and its impact on older generations, multi-generational travel has taken on new meaning and its momentum continues. Families, she said "are cruising again and in a big way. This has been one of our biggest requests from multi-gen families. So, we stay on top of which cruise lines work best for the family and again, encourage booking as far in advance as possible."
Another big trend for 2023 is the desire for vacations inspired by favorite television shows. The popularity of the Yellowstone series has increased travelers' wishes to vacation in Wyoming. "This has also increased the demand for vacation rentals and their cost. As travel advisors, we have to be aware of these factors and guide our clients in the right direction" says Mosolino.
Transformational experiences and cultural enrichment are also on the rise. People want to experience destinations in a deeper, more authentic way. Cooking classes and how to make traditional meals at a local's home, for example, continue to be on the list of traveler requests. But this includes family experiences as well, so everyone has the opportunity to experience a place in a more meaningful way.
Jennifer Kellum of Neverland & Main Travel in Jacksonville, North Carolina says her agency realized the trend of travelers interested in smaller luxury ships post-COVID. As a result, she headed to Croatia for a FAM yachting trip to experience it herself. When she returned home, she posted an opportunity for her clients and within 12 hours, all 38 spots were filled. She said "listening carefully to what my clients wanted when travel returned was very important. I had a good idea of what they were looking for, it identified a niche, and our agency made it happen."
According to Jennifer, the two years of isolation also changed the way people look at travel. Instead of waiting for the right time or the right circumstance or having enough money in the bank, the time to travel has become a 'now' factor. "The realization that we're not untouchable and that we might not have our 'someday' is something I remind my clients of. You only have so many more years with elderly parents, kids at home or spring break to travel together. So why put it off when you can be making those memories now?"
Both travel advisors are acutely aware of the responsibility to provide clients with the best vacations possible within their budgets. "Knowing and understanding the travel trends along with constantly expanding our knowledge base and our collaborative partnerships with our suppliers allow us the opportunity to individualize and fine-tune our client's vacations," explains Mosolino.
"Happy customers mean repeat business. When a travel agent provides their client with an unforgettable travel experience coupled with memories to last a lifetime, they'll definitely come back again," she adds.
And according to Kellum "we've transformed the let's get dreaming philosophy into let's get traveling. We listen to the needs of our clients and then guide them in the right direction."
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