Time to Educate the Consumer

Posted on by in Agent Perspectives

As travel agents we all go the extra mile for our clients. At least we should if we want to stay in business. We know resorts, destinations, the best restaurants. We can take care of problems that crop up during a client’s vacation. But, does the average consumer know all of this? Do they really “get” what we do? I don’t think they do.

As travel agents we are doing a mediocre job of educating consumers. Case in point-I once gave a presentation to my networking group on “Why use a travel agent.” In my presentation I outlined that travel agents still book a lot of cruises, tours etc. I stressed our value and why people should book with us. I even had some cute cartoons and anecdotes in my presentation. Afterward, several people came up to me and expressed surprise that we were still a viable source for not only booking travel but at our value. They thought we were for “people who had a lot of money.” It just amazed me the comments I received.

So, why aren’t we doing a better job of educating the consumer? I have heard agents grouse that ASTA should be doing a national campaign or bring back the “Without a travel agent you are on your own” campaign. Reality check—ASTA does not have the funds. A national campaign would cost millions and millions of dollars. Is everyone prepared to pony up donations for ASTA to launch a campaign of this magnitude? I don’t think so. Without a national campaign where do we go? What do we do to get the word out? I have a couple of suggestions. Some of them are at no cost. Get out there and give presentations on using a travel agent like I do. There are groups in your community looking for speakers—Rotary, Lions Club, Women’s Clubs.

Remember, when giving a presentation to these groups you can’t sell. Tell them the value of using a travel agent. Have your information available but don’t push product or sell them on booking with you.

Another idea is to start a grass roots campaign in your community. Get your local travel agents together-both at home & brick and mortar and discuss ways to promote your value. Advertise on local TV, radio or newspaper. Get on your local TV stations or cable stations. Promote our value! There is enough business to go around for every travel agent. Start telling people why they need to use us and show our value. I think it’s a win-win for all of us!

  6 thoughts on “Time to Educate the Consumer

  1. 1Steven says:

    And so, ASTA’s current mission statement is what???

  2. 1Geoff Millar says:

    Mary, I totally agree with you. Whether we think it is ASTA’s job to promote travel agents or not, it is our job to do what ever is necessary to promote travel agents and educate potential clients. If we wait for someone else to do it for us we are then not controlling our own destiny and will be left scratching our heads wondering why we are no longer in busienss. Remember it is your business, not ASTA’s business.

  3. 1Haleh Malek says:

    I agree with you Mary, but also agree with Steven, What is ASTA Doing???
    Why are we paying them????

  4. 1J E Masson PhD CTC says:

    To further beat down that dead anmal, ASTA’s mission statement has been a very diffuse and troubled one not only now but since the early post-WWII years when it could never decide what it was going to be. I know, for I belonged then and after many years, quit out of sheer exasperation.

  5. 1Suraj Zutshi, CTC, CTIE says:

    I have been on the public education about travel agents bandwagon for the past thirty years. With media people(radio, newspaper and TV), with Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary and my business networking group(s). They all say we need a ‘parental body’ to talk about travel agents as group. Like the Realtors and CPA’s. But ASTA, ARTA and whoever have never made that thier job. Also, the people in charge of media stories are all in their 20’s and have grown up without using travel agents. When I asked the Reno Gazette Journal to add “see your travel agent” after the website and toll free number, I got an incredulous look! Even though they come to us for advertising. They are not dumb, just naive so let’s start by educating them. Too late for us to educatie POTUS……..

  6. I agree whole heartedly. I have to say that there are too many organizations that say they represent us. I only believe they represent themselves. Only grassroots local networking groups will be better suited to getting the word out about the value of travel agents. We ate viable and an important piece of the industry and the big boys and girls at ASTA and others seem to have forgotten about that and seem.more interested in lining their own pockets. I dropped ASTA as they do not represent me. If.something needs to be done, we need to do it ourselves.

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