Travel Agents

Agents are more like “lifestyle planners”: Seabourn global marketer

Hannah Edensor

We all know agents are the new black, but are they actually called ‘travel agents’ anymore?

Recently, a Vogue article described travel agents as ‘travel designers’, which many of you commented to be an accurate reflection of your role these days.

And now, Seabourn’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Chris Austin, says agents should be called something else again.

“Agents should be called ‘lifestyle planner’ instead of agent,” he told the crowd at last week’s Cruise360 conference.

Austin explained that with agents forging better client relationships and getting to know their lifestyle choices and history, it’s less about selling travel and more about creating amazing life experiences.

“Agents find out the big anniversaries, the big birthdays, and they may be six years away but you can sow the seeds to sell those dreams,” he said.

Adding to his point, Regent Seven Seas’ Vice President Sales, Australia & New Zealand, Lisa Pile, said agents need to keep talking to clients in order to keep this ‘lifestyle planner’ definition alive.

“I had a client booking a cruise to celebrate her divorce and her 50th birthday all at once,” she said.

Azamara Club Cruises President and CEO Larry Pimental said for agents to build a relationship based on lifestyle rather than sales, “it’s about creating a return on life”.

“A financial advisor tries to get you to make the best financial decision, but that doesn’t apply in travel,” he explained.

“If an experience cost you more but you love it, so what? But if you’ve spent a little and hated it, you’ve wasted time.”

Pile added that clients tend to make decisions using their heart over their head, making the connection between an agent and their client’s lifestyle and background even more important.

On top of all this, Crystal’s Managing Director & Senior Vice President Karen Christensen revealed agents are also moving away from describing travel products as ‘products’.

“The direction in which we’re going is to identify products no longer as products – they’re an experience, they’re bespoke to them,” she said.

The better the relationship between the client and agent, the more likely agents can become exceptional ‘lifestyle planners’, creating lasting memories for their customers, and imprinting their work into some of their most precious memories.

And as Pimental explained yesterday, if you don’t know what has changed in your client’s life, you can’t requalify them and offer them something even better, making your services even more integral to their travel plans.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Tourism

Travel DAZE to Kick Arse on September 3!

BREAKING: The industry’s favourite travel forum is back for another year – and less than two weeks away! Oh, and Bruce Poon Tip is speaking, so we’d get your tickets fast if we were you.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Big Fat Wholesaler Wrap

If you’re thinking of booking a holiday, this wholesaler wrap is just the thing. It’s also perfect if you want to feel extra sad about being in the office today instead of at one of these places.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Qantas debuts new campaign starring Hugh Jackman

Is that strong coffee just not getting you in the mood for work this Monday morning? Have a helping of Hugh Jackman instead. You’re welcome.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers partners up with Luxury Escapes

by Ali Coulton

Our wandering scribe managed to file this story in between luaus from the TravelManager’s annual conference in Hawaii

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

INDUSTRY FIRST: TravelManagers to provide free mental health support

We’ve been applauding TravelManagers’ amazing new initiative from our desk all morning. Which is a departure from our normal Monday routine of sleeping on it.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AMAZING RACE: This is how all famils should be run!

Sipping mai tais, crashing wedding photos AND paying for strangers laundry? Sounds eerily similar to the end results of a Travel Weekly staff party.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Lombok suffers another devastating earthquake

Another earthquake has struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, hitting the tourist hotspot two weeks to the day after a quake which killed more than 480 people.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

L.A’s top hotels launch “Endless Summer” promotion

Coincidentally, we’re getting our own glimpse of summer by looking at the colour of our bright blue freezing cold hands. Close enough, right?

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

The 10 simple steps to successful business

by Tammy Marshall

Have you walked nine steps with your business and are still not finding success? Walk no longer, the tenth lies within.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Flight review: Hawaiian Airlines Extra Comfort SYD-HNL

Travel Weekly roadtested Hawaiian Airlines’ Extra Comfort option. Though that’s not to say we piloted the plane from there, we were much too comfy for anything that strenuous.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Here’s how to avoid common travel insurance traps

We chatted with Finder.com.au’s insurance expert Richard Laycock to bring you some great tips and tricks about how to cut through jargon and decipher the fine print.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

These are the best dates to book flights for the festive season

There’s nothing more stressful than trying to book flights for the festive period. Except for Christmas shopping, cooking the Christmas roast, and just about every other aspect of the silly season.

Share

CommentComments