A move away from the term ‘Travel Agents’, more sales and of course, more commission – that’s just the start of what 2019 has in store in Travel Advisors.

The team at KARRYON threw on their beaded scarves, overloaded on the silver jewellery and looked into the crystal ball to determine what Travel Advisors can expect from the universe, their clients and their employers over the next 12 months.

What we found (based on actual research and trends) was that in addition to more people returning to travel professionals is a focus on better digital communication with clients, more responsible clients and a change in the way they book their holidays.

Read on for nine exciting things Travel Advisors can look forward to in 2019:

 

1. Real-time itinerary updates

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MTA – Mobile Travel Agents were the first to adopt the technology, before Flight Centre and Travellers Choice.

We expect that over 2019 more travel agency groups will adopt real-time itinerary systems that’ll upgrade capabilities so that consultants can use the itinerary to communicate with their clients remotely and make immediate changes.

 

2. More tailor-made product

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Clients love the idea of a tour group, but they don’t necessarily want a tour guide dictating their every move. That’s not necessarily a new trend, but it’s one that Travel Advisors can expect more tour brands to accommodate to in 2019.

Travellers will be able to pick and choose activities in various cities, dine where they want and in some cases, extend stays as they please.

 

3. More progress in sustainability & responsible tourism

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Image: Archie Fantom/Unsplash

Just ‘talking the talk’ won’t suffice in 2019.

Tourism companies that aren’t already walking the sustainability walk will start taking steps towards cleaner practices over the next 12 months – not only because the world deserves better but because your clientele will demand it.

Which leads us to…

 

4. More clients who actually want to book responsible trips

If you’re a Travel Advisor who isn’t in the loop on responsible tourism, then you may want to start doing some research because G Adventures and Intrepid’s bosses predicted it and now research confirms that responsible tourism will go mainstream in 2019.

A study conducted by ABTA Magazine found that sustainability has moved “further into the public’s consciousness” over the last year, which will impact their travel decision-making in the next 12 months.

It’s all thanks to those airlines, resorts, islands and countries who have taken steps to protect animal, children and environment from tourism.

We began our #traveltochangetheworld initiative two years ago now and this year ran a number of successful events highlighting the opportunity for the industry. Next year will some exciting developments in this space that’ll help Travel Advisors everywhere.

Find out more: www.traveltochangetheworld.com

 

5. There’ll be less printed brochures

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The #BanTheBrochure movement will move full steam ahead in the coming year as brands such as Chimu Adventures encourage Travel Advisors to reduce their wastage.

Throughout 2019, we expect to see consultants take themselves off distribution lists, just as TravelManagers’ Michelle D did in 2018, and opt for digital solutions such as online brochures and destination guides such as KARRYON‘s very own guides that so far cover Thailand, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Fiji, Japan and California.

Of course, consultants with clients who are unable to access digital alternatives, there’s always the option to order brochures when needed.

 

6. And less printed travel documentation

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It’s a trend that’s slowly made its way through the industry over the last few years, and one that will completely take over in 2019 – less printed travel documentation.

This trend will be driven by Travel Advisors keen to reduce wastage as well as tour brands such as Insight Vacations, that’ll reward consultants, their clients and the environment when online documentation is selected overprinted.

 

7. Watch out for bookings to remote travel destinations

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Image: Federico Gutierrez/Unsplash

Overtourism – it was a word that clouded the industry in 2017 and 2018, and it’ll only continue to do so in the coming year.

While it’s an ongoing conversation and challenge for governments, locals and tourism operators alike, travellers themselves will make more educated choices about the places they visit.

2019 travellers will be a lot more switched on about avoiding the icons and crowds in overly popular destinations and will instead opt for the road less taken.

Countries such as Portugal and Morocco will take some of the traffic away from Spain, while the rise of Egypt and Jordan will help move crowds out of Europe and back into the Middle East.

Tourism into Africa is also expected to get a boost in the coming year, particularly South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, which just moved its visa process online.

 

8. As well as more bookings for Egypt, Jordan & Iran

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Image: Pete/Unsplash

As mentioned above, the Middle East is back on travellers’ minds with many keen to finally tick the Pyramids and Petra off the bucket list.

Iran is also a country that Advisors may want to get familiar sooner rather than later, as interest for the often mysterious destination is high.

 

9. And more business from millennials

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Image: Julián Gentilezza/Unsplash

They’d rather travel than have sex and they’d prefer to book through a Travel Advisor than online.

They’re the two stand out study results from recent research conducted on millennials who admitted that they’d rather save time by handing the booking process to a professional.

Click here for more on that study.

 

What are you most looking forward to in 2019 as Travel Advisors?