The president of the Travel Leaders Group said there is not a better time to be a travel advisor. TLN is part of TLG.
He said that the Pandemic showed how important it is for consumers to have someone with them when they travel. Several new programs for network advisers were announced during the briefing.
The highlights were included.
The previous Cruise PRO is being sunsetted with the introduction of a new tool called Cruise Complete. The platform is 100% web based and features live inventory and pricing, the ability to select four cabins upfront, comprehensive post-booking modifications and more.
Independent contractors and non-GDS advisers will be able to book air, car and hotel through a new online booking tool this year. Detailed seat maps, shopping for hotels by airport, and extensive commission information are some of the tools that will be supported by it.
The Travelleaders.com multi-faceted search tool allows customers to search for an advisor by destination expertise, interest specialization and advisor location. Travel agents in North Carolina specialize in honeymoons in Mexico.
Advisors can use the new itinerary content on Agent Profiler to create their own itineraries to promote their knowledge of a destination.
The Super Agent program was launched in the spring of 2016 and identifies top agents based on performance metrics. They will be displayed at the top of searches. The first six months of the program produced over 350 Super Agents.
According to a survey by TravelStyle, 16 million North Americans want to go on a river cruise again and 37 million want to go on their first river cruise. He said that last year's water level issues in Europe had never become a crisis and that bookings have already begun for Christmas markets in the years to come.
Despite the fact that only 72 percent of pre-pandemic capacity had been available, last year was a great one for ocean cruising.
There is an interesting energy going on in the industry with cruise lines trying to regain market share from all-inclusive resorts, which had been more available during the Pandemic. More promotions through the retail distribution system is a good thing for advisers.
Distinctive voyages, which have TLN hosts on board, and Amenity Dates with special amenities for TLN clients, are two of the cruise programs that TLN has added.
Europe is very attractive for North American travelers due to the relative weakness of the euro. National parks were popular during the COVID crisis. With TLG set to announce major initiatives this year, he said that sustainable travel is becoming more of a focus.
TLN is not yet seeing worries about the economy or stock market affecting travelers' mindsets because leisure travel is thriving. Consumers are more confident in their finances and suppliers are more confident in their ability to fill ships, resorts, etc., according to a new report.
55 percent of all sales had been pre-pandemic. It was flipped because of the lack of ships, but is now back to where we think it should be
The organization added 260 new affiliates last year and made $837 million in sales. He said affiliates ranged from small to large. A total of seven new franchises have been added by Tln. He said that the organization is attracting a lot of new members and is keeping a lot of current advisers.
There are new alliances where advisors with similar interests join to share best practices and support. There are two alliances, one of which is a Luxury Alliance. A honeymoon and destination wedding alliance will be launched in February and a technology and growing agencies alliance will be launched later this year.
While the agencies that form these alliances are theoretically competitors, they want to work together on issues like winning customers, marketing and more.
There has been a 30 percent increase in the number of leads that have never worked with a travel advisor before. He said that a strategic initiative for 2023 is to dramatically increase the message about the value of travel advisors in all communications. Suppliers are happy to give advertising space to TLN because of how they tell their story to customers.
The biggest chunk of people searching for advisors on Travelleaders.com are young people because they have always depended on ratings, reviews and recommendations. The new advisor search should make it easier to find the right advisor. The number one service is agent profiling, according to Block.
TLN is giving advisors the tools to get better at social media. That includes a social share and scheduler tool where one click allows advisors to share organic promotions, blogs, and destination and interest-based content on their social channels, which appears to look like it came from the advisor.
The popularity of platforms like TikTok and Reels has led TLN to provide downloads and short-form videos. TLN has monthly 15-minute "Social Media Snacks" webinars to help advisers create their own content.
There was a 40 percent increase in leads to advisors in the year 2022. The month of January is 72 percent ahead of the same month in another year.
Finding advisors on both the corporate and leisure side is the number one challenge looking forward.
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