There has been plenty of discussion in recent years around just how “travel agents” – in both the traditional and non-traditional sense of the term – should be labelling and identifying themselves in the modern travel era.
It’s a worthwhile discussion and one that everyone whose occupation could be generally described as “a person whose job it is to help people who want to travel by facilitating the selection and booking of travel arrangements and accommodations” should be involved in.
Considering we’ve now experienced multiple decades of premature “The Travel Agent Is Dead” headlines, choosing an occupational identifier that successfully communicates the service you provide without requiring you to say, “Actually, we do more than just…” could be the difference between having people see you as a valuable resource in an age of information overload, rather than relic of a distant time.
If you’ve never put much thought into how you chose to identify yourself and define your profession, then now maybe the time to do so.
To help you find the right fit for you, we’ve put together a short guide on what each distinction implies to clients, and what it ultimately says about the service you’ll be providing.
Also know as “The Classic.”
When you go with the conventional Travel Agent title, you’re ensuring people understand exactly what your occupation is, in the well-established sense. When you brand yourself with a traditional label, clients will expect traditional services. If you’re thing is providing brochures, booking flights, and making hotel reservations, then the “Agent” identifier is appropriate for you.
The titles of Travel Advisor, Travel Counsellor and Travel Consultant suggest you’ll be providing input in the travel decision-making process. When people seek out an advisor they’re looking for someone to help point them in the right direction and ensure they avoid making mistakes that could mar the travel experience. If you feel your day-to-day service to your clients includes guidance, in addition to your more traditional booking and reservation facilitation, then you might be best to continue selecting a label from this trifecta.
Potential clients are most familiar with the designation of “Concierge” as it relates to hotels, which means they expect someone who will be attentive to all their needs as related to the trip planning and execution process. Much like a concierge in the hospitality sense of the word, when you label yourself a “travel concierge,” people will be expecting you to go above and beyond. If your service style includes anticipating needs, providing direction in the decision making process, and elevating the travel product with value adds and special insight, then you should consider calling yourself a travel concierge.
When people hear the word “designer,” their first thought is generally of the interior and fashion variety. And you should think of yourself in much the same sense. As a travel or trip designer, you’ll be adding a creative element to the service offering. While the previous tags all lean towards the assisting & facilitating domain, the designer is expected to craft or curate a travel experience. Trip designers work almost exclusively in hatching original itineraries with signature accents of experiential flair that clients wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
So with all of that in mind, what are you?