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As Travel Agents Evolve Into Lifestyle Agents, They Are Still Very Much in Demand.

August 14, 2014 Corporate No Comments Email Email

Time. Its one thing that we cannot buy more of and keep in surplus. For time poor affluent executives, it’s a commodity that is highly prized, so how do you get more of it?

Lifestyle and leisure management is one of life’s latest luxuries: timesaving services for the discerning few. It’s an emerging trend that will be explored at this year’s Luxperience Thought Leaders Program.

The Luxperience Lifestyle Panel is a moderated panel discussion with innovative thought leaders including Will Roberts, managing director of Lifestyle Management agency Alsaker Lifestyle Private Office, Alethea Dean, editor of Hong Kong-based concierge club Quintessentially Lifestyle and Dee Branciforte, vice president, Fischer Travel Enterprises.

In a relatively new industry here in Australia, “Lifestyle Managers” or “Personal Concierges” are being relied upon to assist time poor executives to help manage their very hectic lifestyles.

For some users its benefit is errand running and paying bills, for others its anonymity and outsourcing the purchase of large ticket items, and of course for many it is the booking of a complicated travel itinerary – whether for business or leisure.

The rise of online booking engines was predicted to threaten traditional travel agent retail business, but this emerging trend for lifestyle agents suggests travel agents have a long and healthy life ahead of them.

While agents have certainly taken a hit over these years, the trend is swinging back towards the agent as busy consumers demand a more personalised service.

“Smart upwardly mobile individuals value their own time greatly and are well versed at outsourcing many things in life these days. As travel agents become a necessary part of this trend, their future looks very bright,” according to Jayson Westbury, CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents.

Alternatively known as a travel advisor or travel consultant, the role of an actual human being is becoming ever more treasured as the information explosion continues to overwhelm the typical Internet research session – especially in the luxury and experiential travel category.

“It is impossible to have a rapport with a computer – that is why more people are finding that using a professional with a service ethic and product knowledge, important when booking travel.

“Google does not hold the mortgage on good ideas, and so often people can become disenchanted when trying to book holidays and trips completely online. That is when “lifestyle” agents will be able to demonstrate their value and retain clients for years into the future,” Mr Westbury said.

Of course, this is hardly surprising, as the traveller-of-means is more likely to both see the value in time-savings (and thus not balk at paying related fees) and to seek informed counsel to tailor a trip specifically to the traveller’s specifications.

Travellers will always hold personal advice at a premium, and as travel gets more complicated, travellers will be willing to pay to curate the world’s offerings.

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