During the first decade of the 21st century, travel industry pundits were touting the coming of age of the baby boomer generation. This generation, we were told, had the desire, time and income to travel and most importantly, was predisposed to using travel agents. Today’s baby boomers are between the ages of 50 and 68 and probably represent a large share of the average travel agency’s clientele, and a disproportionate share of agency revenues.
As the year 2013 winds down, our collective focus falls on 2014 and the promise it holds. Will it be a good year for the travel industry? What can we all do with our respective businesses to ensure the best year possible for ourselves, our employees and our customers?
October 17 saw the end of the 16-day federal government shut down as Republicans conceded to the White House and Democrats' demands. That’s the good news. The bad news is that all they did was agree on a plan to fund the government until January 15, 2014 and raise the debt limit until February 7, 2014. Meanwhile, the shutdown cost the government billions of dollars and damaged the nation’s international credibility. So effectively all that was accomplished was a short term band-aid to an ongoing and dangerous financial crisis within the US Government. Did this instill any confidence in the American people in their elected officials? Can all the furloughed government employees feel secure about what might happen again in the next few months? And what implications does this past and possible future shutdown mean for the travel industry?
During the ASTA Global Conference in Miami, ASTA Counsel Paul Ruden held an ASTA Town Hall meeting to address concerns over the proposed “New Distribution Capability,” better known as NDC.
One thing we can all count on in our day-to-day lives is change. The rate of change in the travel and publishing industries seems to be outpacing others. Change can be daunting. Everyone has a comfort zone, and change tends to force us outside of that zone. However, that is not always a bad thing. One of my favorite selling phrases is ?if you always do what you?ve always done, you will always get what you always got.? Change forces us to open our minds to new ways of doing business. So, what are the changes that are impacting travel agents and how can you address them?
This month we are presenting you with a guest editorial from Meredith Hill, ex-President of Hills of Africa Travel, founder of the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE).
A little more than a year ago we launched the Home Based Travel Agent Registry (www.hbtar.com) as a way to help home based travel agents and travel industry suppliers connect with each other. We have been happy with the response from the industry - with over 75 suppliers and 2,000 plus travel agents registering. We have also received letters of encouragement and support for a service that has been needed and was long overdue.However, with an estimated 25,000 home based agents in the marketplace, we have a ways to go to make this service effective for both agents and suppliers.