TRAVELSAVERS Canada agencies looking to add advisors in 2024

TRAVELSAVERS Canada has just released a new survey of its consultants that provides insights into one of the industry’s current challenges – a shortage of advisors.

What the survey found was that an overwhelming number of agencies affiliated with TRAVELSAVERS Canada may be adding more advisors in the next year, with 25 per cent saying they’ll hire as many ‘good’ ones as they can.

Released on Travel Advisor Day, the survey found that although 89 per centof agencies plan to or may hire advisors in the coming year, almost two-thirds say it’s not easy to find qualified applicants.

“The travel industry has definitely bounced back and we’re delighted to experience such momentum around leisure travel,” said Jane Clementino, senior vice president and general manager, TRAVELSAVERS Canada.

Looking to attract new talent

“Our concern is not having enough staff to support the increased clientele, and while our affiliate agencies are continuously searching for new employees, they tell us that candidates tend to lack in skill set,” Clementino said. “As an industry, we have an obligation to attract new talent to get ahead of the huge demand we face.”

The cause of the shortage is twofold. As more travellers seek the expertise of a consultant, the market for travel agency services is increasing and is expected to grow.

Simultaneously, experienced advisors are leaving the business. The Travel Institute says 36 per cent of agencies lost staff during the pandemic, and 56 per cent of those haven’t replaced them. Also, two-thirds of advisors today are over 50, with retirement nearing. Only six per cent of advisors are under 35.

Locating the right candidate

In their often-challenging search for advisors, agencies report using a variety of methods to locate candidates. The most common are referrals from others (56 per cent), job listings (47 per cent), social media posts (36 per cent), and networking (33 per cent).

Lack of awareness is another issue that’s hampering the quest for talent, with 23 per cent of advisors surveyed saying that people don’t know the profession still exists.

And when agencies do find interested prospects, misconceptions about the field often deter candidates. Many underestimate the amount of work required to build a clientele while overestimating earnings. Some believe they will journey the world for free. Yet others lack the talent and background to be successful.

If fact, about 60 per cent of advisors surveyed say applicants don’t have the right combination of skills and abilities. They also say the pay isn’t high enough to attract qualified candidates, and 30% say candidates aren’t willing to work hard to establish a book of business. Thirty-two per cent report applicants only want to travel for free.

“It’s really important to recognize that as a travel advisor, you’re running your own business,” Clementino said. “And this boils down to three key things – investing in building a network, getting the right training, and delivering excellence in client services – to be successful in this industry.”

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