A globally recognised designer, speaker, consultant and writer has identified three ways that travel agents can help solve some of society’s big tensions.
Speaking at the Virtuoso Symposium in Melbourne last week, Fred Dust focused his talk on how agents can design their own future, and in doing so, balance some of the tensions that they and the rest of society are grappling with right now.
“There’s a form of tension that can be scary and hard and difficult, and there’s a form of tension that can be exciting and engaging and creative, and that’s what we’re all looking for,” Dust told attendees.
“I believe that you have in the work you do [as agents] some of what’s needed to solve some of the bigger societal tensions that we have.”
Dust went on to identify three tensions that society faces: many moments versus single stories, data versus human insight, and independence versus isolation.
“One of my biggest worries that I feel you can help us with is making sure that we’re not just lost in the moment,” Dust said.
“I want you to help us both pick new moments and help us think about new stories that we can be telling.
“I want you to be the masterclass of teaching people how to tell travel stories, both for yourself and also for all the people who go through your experiences. The better they tell the stories, the better they’re out there helping you tell your story.”
Dust also encouraged agents to share data about themselves in order to humanise insights.
“The more what we know about you, the more we know that you can help us,” he said.
“What are the experiences that you have that help people hook into you and know that they would go to you for the information they want?”
Dust said agents have the ability to build people pilgrimages, which he believes is an effective way to resolve the tension between independence and isolation.
“The big thing about a pilgrimage is that everyone is walking in the same direction,” he said.
“When people are going some place together, the way conversations happen is really different. There’s a kind of connection and a kind of bond when you go in the same direction.”
Another trait Dust noted of pilgrimages is that while everyone’s walking, not everyone is walking for the same reason.
“Everybody’s trying to figure out why other people are walking, so you tell stories, you discover things that you wouldn’t discover otherwise,” he said.
“That’s not just about pilgrimage – that’s what happens when people travel together. They learn things about why they’re travelling together. They’re choosing to commit, and it’s all about dialogue and connecting with people on the ground.”