What if everyone opts to buy cheap travel online? Will there still be a place for Travel Agents? These questions may plague your mind, but never fear, there will always be a place in people’s hearts for Travel Agents.

You see, this remarkably intelligent guy called Steve Sammartino (aka Australia’s most respected futurist) came to speak at Travellers Choice conference in Cairns over the weekend.


He enlightened members as to how they can embrace change and technology, while still attracting clients to their bricks and mortar store.

Here’s how.

Full service or no service?

Steve believes the future of selling products will look exactly like this:

“Its either got to be full hand holding, together, face to face, real deal you’re going to solve my problem or no person at all. As in you can’t talk to us, you can’t find us, but it’s online and it’s cheap, cheap, cheap.”

And the great news for Travel Agents? That hand-holding thing, that’s where you want to be.

“I can promise you the world’s most profitable companies are hand holders. The cheap click war is a race to the bottom,” he said.

Sell experiences not things


Nurai Island, Visit Abu Dhabi

Steve explains that retail was once about selling things at stores because that was the only place people could get what they were after. That’s not the case anymore.

“If you’re selling a product at a price then that will go online,” he said.

If you’re selling an experience and personal service then that will survive.

“The future of retail is that you need to be differentiated, entertainment orientated, socialised and you need to be a driver of the experience. If you do that you will survive with perpetuity.”

“You don’t want to sell a product at a price point, because if you sell a product at a price point someone without that overhead and infrastructure can beat you on price anyway. So if the price is your focus in retail, it’s a race to the bottom.”

Don’t be scared to experiment

Remember when you learned to ride a bike for the first time? Remember you didn’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book. You had to hop on, you fell off, grazed you knee, made some mistakes.

That’s what Steve says Travel Agents need to do when it comes to experimenting with new ways of doing things.

“You’ve got to shape your industry,” he said.

“You do that and I promise you your future will be anything but average.”

Embrace driverless cars

Cars are going to become rolling lounge rooms, rolling offices and if you read KARRYON last week, you’d know all about this one…rolling HOTELS!

Steve recommends tour company owners deploy driverless cars in their businesses as soon as they can.

“Get them straight away. You’ll get free PR for doing something cool.”

He said driverless cars were not about making people redundant from businesses, but instead using those people more effectively to interact on a personal level with clients.
Ultimately though, no matter what cool technology is invented, just remember, human understanding will ALWAYS be key to what you do.

What do you think? Let us know below.