Managing Director of itravel Steve Labroski knows all about what it takes to thrive in the Travel Industry thanks to 25 year’s experience running a successful Travel Agency.

We spoke to him during itravel’s inaugural conference at Hunter Valley Crowne Plaza over the weekend about what 2019 looks like for his business.

He said this year would be about achieving the perfect balance between using new technology to its full potential while still placing huge value on in-person relationships with clients.

Itravel-Steve Labroski

At this stage, Steve isn’t ready to reveal what new technology he will be bringing into the itravel network (we will have to watch that unfold) but he did have this to say.

“Every year seems to get quicker and quicker in terms of technology but there’s one thing that will never change – it doesn’t matter how much technology comes out – it’s relationships. If you understand what your relationship is with customers, you will still have a future regardless of what happens with technology.”

Managing Director of itravel Steve Labroski

While emphasising the importance of human relationships, he said it was also important to “move with the times”.

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“You’ve got to stay relevant so if you’re not playing in the field of all the changes that are coming then you become obsolete as well. It’s a fine line and you have to be able to do both.”

Steve said he didn’t see other travel agency networks as itravel’s competition but rather “those who are coming sideways that we don’t see” like Ubers and the Airbnbs.

“You’ve got to try to be ahead of the curve,” he said.

In terms of what clients are wanting this year, he said it was all about DIVERSITY.

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“People want diversity. Everyone wants to be different in the way they experience their holiday,” he said.

“People want to try a new restaurant that no one else has been to, have a cocktail that no one else has tasted, be on a mountain that no one else has stood on, whatever it may be.”

“We all want something that no one else has done but then we want to be able to share that with the world and say hey I’m the first person that you know who has done this.”

Managing Director of itravel Steve Labroski

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More than ever, agents are needing to be thinking outside the box to craft exciting new itineraries for their clients.

“Most of our agents have 20 plus years experience in the industry are able to do this,” he said.

What do you think of Steve’s insights?