Travel Webcast
Canadian Travel Press
Issue Date: Dec 10, 2018
View the full digital edition

Disruptions bring opportunities

Pictured above: Lindsay Pearlman, Co-President
Ensemble Travel Group

I’ll start by saying that “disruption” in the marketplace is good. At first glance, stability may appear to be the easier path, but it ends up causing a commoditization of product, which results in margin pressure as the only difference – and that’s not good for anyone in travel.

So for Ensemble Travel Group, we welcome the challenges disruption can bring. I think back to the economic crisis in late 2008 and 2009 – a time from a marketing perspective when you could either take the “turtle” approach by hunkering down and hoping to ride it out or opting for a more aggressive strategy. We chose the latter and went into a strong customer acquisition mode on behalf of our members by creating “Ensemble Destination Vows.”

This was a great opportunity to launch a unique and recession-proof program that would drive group bookings to our members.’.

Ten years later, this segment continues to grow and our members continue to earn from
this program.

Three other thoughts that come to mind:
• Disruption means there is a requirement for education, which helps increase advisors’ value to customers. The Internet certainly can’t do that. The more you know, the more value you bring. That’s why we’ve strengthened internal training through U of E, as well as partnered with educational organizations to help members grow their expertise.

• Disruption is seen with new products being launched, as well as destinations, especially off-the-beaten-path locations. That’s to an advisor’s benefit because product confusion requires expertise for clarity. Consider the new ocean and river cruise ships. It’s impossible for travellers to understand all the nuances of differentiation – but advisors have experienced many of them first-hand through familiarization trips and other learning opportunities.

• Disruption of technology means a greater requirement for consumer protection and education, which presents opportunities to the travel advisor. The Internet and social media tools are great platforms for researching, learning and sharing, but, again, that’s where travel professionals can make sense out of it all for customers and serve as a “filter” for their travel needs.