The Revival Of Travel Advisors – Plus Other Trends Learned From 2023 Virtuoso Travel Week
September 28, 2023
I had the pleasure of attending the prestigious 2023 Virtuoso Travel Week, a pinnacle event in the global travel industry. As someone who frequently discusses travel trends with the media, I was excited to engage in conversations with travel advisors who are on the front lines working directly with travelers. Plus, spotting trends is a huge part of our everyday work on our NY Consumer Lifestyle and Sports team.
Here’s a glimpse into the valuable insights gathered on the ground while engaging with over 200 travel advisors during this event:
Travel Advisors are Staging a Remarkable Comeback
One undeniable trend that emerged through multiple conversations is the resurgence of travel advisors themselves. In an age where travelers have a world of information at their fingertips, the human touch and expertise provided by these advisors are making a remarkable comeback. It’s crystal clear that their role in the travel industry is stronger than ever before. In addition to trade publications, these advisors express a strong interest in finding sample itineraries for various traveler profiles when they visit tourism websites. Clients like Travel Alberta and St. Kitts Tourism Authority excel in providing a wide array of itineraries suitable for diverse travelers across different seasons and varying timeframes. Their offerings span from informative guides for first-time visitors seeking winter adventures in Alberta to captivating pre-historic road trip experiences. In the case of St. Kitts, they provide a plethora of options, including itinerary ideas for durations as short as 24 hours and extending to a week, and beyond.
New Generations Seeks Their Guidance
What’s particularly intriguing is the shifting demographics of those seeking the guidance of travel advisors. Millennials and Gen Z, often hailed as the DIY generation, are increasingly turning to travel advisors for their expertise and personalized recommendations.
However, it’s worth mentioning that each generation has its unique travel habits, resulting in varying planning approaches. While both are curious travelers, Gen Z travelers for instance often opt for a highly flexible and spontaneous approach, while Millennials tend to meticulously plan their trips in advance, considering factors such as vacation days and scheduled life events. Millennials also prioritize bucket-list trips, whereas Gen Z is more adventurous with where they’ll travel.
The Rise of Group Bookings
Travel advisors are witnessing a significant rise in group bookings, and it’s not limited to any one specific type of group. Families are eager to explore new destinations together, creating unforgettable memories. Destination weddings are in demand, with couples seeking unique and exotic locations to exchange vows. Even groups of friends are joining in on the action, indulging in fun getaways. And to top it off, I was personally delighted to hear about a group of senior softball leagues hitting the road, proving that wanderlust knows no age limits.
As groups continue to gain momentum, travel advisors are turning to suppliers in search of promotions and exclusive offers tailored for groups, giving them a competitive edge in attracting group bookings over their competitors.
Social Media as a Source of Inspiration
Social media continues to ignite inspiration among travelers, acting as an unofficial ambassador for destinations and hotel brands. Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok each cater to a diverse range of traveler profiles, making them invaluable resources for brands seeking to connect with their desired audiences. Travel advisors frequently highlight that a significant portion of their clients’ travel inspiration originates from the content shared on social media platforms.
Social media will continue to be an area travelers will continue to turn to for inspiration and having wanderlust-worthy content will be crucial to stand out from the crowd.
The insights gathered from my interactions with these dedicated travel advisors paint a promising picture for the future of travel. The resurgence of travel advisors, coupled with their expanding demographic appeal and the growing popularity of group bookings, alongside the power of social media, is telling of a travel industry that’s not only bouncing back, but evolving and flourishing.