By now, it’s common knowledge that travel agents are back—big time. With all the choices out there—from where to go and where to stay to how to spend one’s time while away—the need for professional guidance is bigger than ever.
Here’s what to expect in coming months and 2018:
• Dinner with an artist, a physicist, a horse whisperer. Making connections with the locals has long been a desire among travelers. Increasingly, we are finding our clients want to have one-on-one meetings set up with accomplished individuals in the destinations they are visiting. It’s taking the “Tour of the Louvre by an Artist” to a whole new level.
• Empty Nest trips. More than ever, life’s milestones are being celebrated by taking trips. There’s no better gift than creating memories together and with the boomer population sending kids off to college, this is the new “it” trip.
• Taking trips as part of an overall goal. In three years, a client wants to hike the Inca Trail with his son. He’ll look to you to plan shorter, less ambitious hiking trips between now and then to be ready for the big event.
• Longer and more immersive trips. Clients are carving out much bigger chunks of time to go away whether with their kids, spouse or solo. Expect requests for month-long (or even months-long) vacations that take in multiple destinations.
• Away-from-it-All trips. Patagonia, Antarctica, Greenland…interest in visiting these destinations has been steadily on the rise and is going to be booming in 2018. Be prepared to combine these with nearby locations as well. Think about pairing Patagonia and Antarctica with Chile’s Atacama Desert or with Argentina’s wine country. Greenland works well with Copenhagen and other destinations in Scandinavia.
• Make it as comfortable as possible. More and more clients will be asking for Business class or Premium Economy flights. Nobody wants to be crammed into tight economy seats for long-haul trips and there’s an all-around acceptance to that fact that it’s going to cost more. And while you may not make a lot of money helping your clients utilize points and miles for upgrades, by getting them there in comfort, you’ll be setting up your trips for success.
Susan Farewell is the owner of Farewell Travels LLC (FarewellTravels.com), a travel design firm based in Westport, CT. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @FarewellTravels.