COVID-19 has changed so much in our lives and careers.
Certainly for me one of the biggest changes is starting in my new role with Direct Travel – which in Canada includes the well-known brand Vision Travel.
As VP, Host Services, I’ll be inviting Independent Travel Advisors to join our team and I will be building a community where they can thrive.
Previously, I spent seven years as Director, Member Relations U.S./Canada with Virtuoso, so I hope some of you recognize me, and I look forward to sharing insights with you in this space each month.
Virtuoso is a global network of luxury travel advisors, agencies, and partners. Throughout my time there, the world of affluent travel became part of my DNA. I sincerely believe all travel will thrive in a post-COVID world.
Why luxury travel?
I believe we are going to experience huge pent-up demand once restrictions around the world are lifted. Travellers have been honing their wanderlists and we are seeing big ticket vacations already being booked for 2021 and even into 2022.
Many clients in the luxury travel market have not been impacted as much others and their travel advisors are more valuable than ever before. Clients gravitate towards advisors who have access to experiences and amenities clients cannot get elsewhere and over the past eight months, elevated supplier relationships have played a significant role. This comes with the territory of being a luxury travel advisor at an established agency.
So … how to position yourself as a luxury travel advisor?
Don’t use your own wallet to gauge the affordability of these trips. It may be beyond your budget but that doesn’t mean it is beyond theirs.
Get in the habit of upselling and educate yourself. Get comfortable speaking about the features and benefits of partners you might have been apprehensive to offer in the past. Virtually every hotelier and cruise line offer online training programs and comparison sheets to help you.
And you can learn more about the tastes and wishes of this market by reading consumer luxury travel magazines and lifestyle publications. It’s all part of a world that may not be yours, but it’s reality for your new clients!
Joelle Goldman is the Vice President, Host Services for Direct Travel in North America. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.