Friday 18 January, 2019

Millennials turning to travel agents more says travel expert

Photo by Lonely Planet courtesy Unsplash

Photo by Lonely Planet courtesy Unsplash

Despite the popularity of travel and hotel booking sites, millennials are the ones turning to travel agents the most for advice on their travel experiences.

Steve McGillivray, the Chief Marketing Officer of the Travel Leaders Group, said time and validation are the main reasons millennials are using travel agents.

“Time is precious for them so it is efficient to use an independent third party of the advisor. They want someone to validate their choice and their searches and say is that hotel in Antigua the right hotel? Is that tour in the Bahamas the right tour? And that is the value of agents, they validate, guide and give impartial expertise to make a great vacation,” he said.

McGillivray is the keynote speaker of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) to be held in the Bahamas next month.

In a brief interview giving insight into his address with the CTO’s Communications Specialist, Johnson Johnrose, on Wednesday, McGillivray dispelled fears that the Internet was the death knell of the travel agent.

“The web has been the best thing for travel agents, it has created so much information. Consumers are confused so someone to sort it out, sift through it, give educational validation."

“What we say to the advisors is you have to up your game, become specialists, certify, become more educated. The agents have to up their game and they are. This is the best time to be a travel advisor ever,” he said.

He said with the changing role of retail distributors, travel agents are now being known as advisors as they are now expected to advise and guide consumers who are coming to them more educated.

He said the industry is also changing as more retailers are operating from home-based businesses. He said technology has allowed an explosion of this type of business.

“There was a time you had to have a storefront to be a credible seller of travel. Not anymore. Many times the advisor never sees their customer, it is all gone electronic. The consumer, what they care about, is a trustworthy, reliable advisor. It doesn’t matter where I reside….technology has really provided new avenues for the retailer, the advisor to thrive,” he said.

The CTO’s SOTIC takes place from October 2 to 5 at the Atlantis Paradise Island, The Bahamas. For more information visit sotic.onecaribbean.org.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: