2017 – The Big Surprise
A viewpoint from The Travel Agent Next Door's Flemming Friisdahl
Home at last
I think the big surprise in 2017 was the number of travel agents and specifically travel agencies that decided to make the move to going home-based or being hosted.
I say this as I know it has been a good year for all host agencies in Canada, and I think that, just like what airline consolidation did to the industry when it became popular in the mid-1980s and revolutionized the way travel agents sold air travel, so the trend towards going home-based and being hosted is becoming the preferred way of doing things for the retail industry.
For those agents and smaller agencies that do not want to join a big organization or be tied to bricks and mortar, being hosted has become their number one choice. These agents and agencies are seeking not just a better share of commissions, but also a better work-life balance.
2018 – The Next Big Thing
A lot of adventure
No question in my mind is that the number of consumers that want to do more soft adventures when they travel is the number one growth area we are seeing.
We find people want to get away from the tourist traps and find experiences that allow them to meet and mingle with other cultures. We are very aware that this is market segment that we will continue to focus on.
The upside to this for travel agents is that this is an area where travel professionals shine, showing their full value to the consumer.
I strongly believe that part of the steady growth in consumers seeking out a travel agent is for assistance in booking these kinds of vacation experiences.
Of course, I should also mention destination wedding groups as the other huge growth area that we are seeing. And now that so many hotels, destinations and even cruise lines are doing more to cater to this market segment, I am sure it will continue to grow.