Travel Counsellors’ CEO Steve Byrne has a knack for knowing what travel trends are coming and equipping his worldwide team of Travel Counsellors with the tools and knowledge to embrace the future.

Karryon picked Steve’s brain during the Australian Travel Counsellors’ 2019 conference in Adelaide over the weekend, to learn what the future of the industry looks like and how travel agents can best accommodate the changing needs of their customers.


Increase in demand from customers for EXPERIENCES


Steve explained that customers will increasingly be looking for things that are a little bit different.

“That can either be an off-the-beaten-track experience or it can also be when they’re doing a more conventional holiday but something is added to it to give it a little bit of variation to create an extra special memory,” he said.

“This plays to our strengths because it requires more thought and more planning. So experiential travel is really important”.


Use of data to drive personalisation


A lot of OTAs try and capture as much data about customers as possible and use it to personalise their product offering.

“We’ve got to be able to do that as well but we (as Travel Counsellors) overlay that with the human touch as well because the personalisation of an OTA can only be as good as the data that they’ve collated,” Steve explained.

“Personalisation in our model can be driven by the data but also what we’ve gleaned about you from conversations that we’ve had with you so it plays to our strengths of human to human connection”.


Customers are comfortable using smartphones

“Customers are now very active in using travel apps to search, book, interact and purchase. Any travel company has got to be visible to a customer in a smartphone environment,” Steve commented.


Duty of care

“We live in a changing world and a volatile world so we’ve got a responsibility to make sure our customer’s travel choices are safe and secure and the advice around which destinations are safe can change very, very quickly,” Steve said.

To help keep their customer’s safe, Travel Counsellors offer traveller tracking as part of their app which can be turned on if the customer wishes to use the feature.


“Intermediaries” are coming back in vogue


“People are wanting advice because, as Tony Robbins says, “in the internet age people are drowning in information but being starved of wisdom”.

“People have all of this product they can access themselves but we help the customer to work through which of those things are the best for them,” Steve said.


Do you agree that these will be the major trends in travel?