|Taking LTA Live: I’m shown here with Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, who was a major highlight of our recently held Ultra Luxury Summit, which Luxury Travel Advisor launched three years ago as a collaborative think tank between advisors and suppliers.|
The joy of preparing Luxury Travel Advisor’s 10th anniversary issue was having a good reason to catch up with each of the advisors who have been featured on our covers over the past decade. We asked each for details on how their businesses have evolved, where they’ve traveled to and which hotels have impressed them lately. We asked for personal news and had some lovely updates on engagements, weddings, new grandchildren and new dogs. We also asked each for a recent photo of themselves and, may I say, everyone looks fabulous. The years have been kind to you all, and deservedly so.
In keeping with a Luxury Travel Advisor tradition, here are the top 10 trends I spotted while compiling the interviews for our anniversary issue.
1 Advisors are calling the shots as to which customers they will work with. They’re vetting their client lists to work with those that will bring the highest return and are eschewing those who can’t comprehend the value of their service. Wasting time on mere shoppers is simply no longer worth their time. Business is too good and life is too short.
2 Most advisors have an abundance of clients all over the world that they’ve never met and probably never will; they communicate perfectly well by e-mail and phone.
3 However, local business is still a very lucrative option and travel advisors are hosting some very creative client events to link their customers with their preferred suppliers.
4 Over-the-top, round–the-world itineraries are not unusual for the travel advisors who have graced our cover. What is unusual is the depth of experience they’re able to provide for their clients on the journey, arranging for authentic and extreme experiences, while ensuring every detail is seen to, down to the most minute level.
5 Family travel businesses have gotten stronger as the next generation realizes working in the travel advisor arena is a viable career path.
6 In fact, the next generation of travel advisors is truly making its mark, and for many agencies it’s become the new mainstay of the business as these young entrants bring with them an exuberance for selling luxury travel in some very entrepreneurial ways.
7 For many owners, it’s all about the independent contractor. The number of outside consultants has increased for nearly all agencies, and those agencies are treating their ICs like clients to ensure they remain happy and loyal, and continue selling at the top of their game.
8 Several of our luxury travel advisors have already visited Cuba and are incorporating it into their portfolio of offerings to clients who are anxious to enjoy the island before it builds up.
9 River cruising has become a new mainstay in product offerings for advisors; in fact, at least two of our cover stars have christened new ships. The luxury agency networks are using river cruise itineraries as incentive trips for their top producers to introduce them to the new vessels.
10 Surprise and delight is what all of our luxury travel advisors do every day for their clients, but it’s apparent each of those who have appeared on the cover are surprised and delighted at how strong their business is these days and how hungry their clients are for high quality experiences around the globe. More than anything, they’re surprised and delighted at the overall health of the luxury travel business and extremely optimistic for its future prospects. For our array of advisor profiles, visit www.luxurytraveladvisor.com/agent-profiles/celebrating-10-years.