A few years ago, I attended the New York Times Travel Show, A show that averages 25k to 30k attendees during the 3-day show. Normally I only attended the show on the Travel Trade dates, when suppliers from around the world showcase their travel destinations, hotels and activities to us the Travel Advisors, That year, in particular, I decided to stay in New York a few more days, I was at the event with one of my business partners from Italy, and attended the events over the weekend geared to travelers or as I will call them in this blog; consumers.
As we chosen the topics of interest, we split our time into a few seminars.
Little we know that day, we were set for a big surprise.
The topics were something like “how to travel the world like the 1%” “the power of influencers” “what is trending” etc.
After the sessions at the end of the day, my Italian partner and I could not believe the amount of misleading or not fully accurate information given there, He realized then why most of the travelers he received on his end, are misinformed.
The rooms were full
To give you a few examples one “expert” talking about Peru, told people to stay in Cusco first to acclimate the altitude before going to Machu Picchu. when on the contrary the altitude in Cusco is actually much higher than the altitude in Machu Picchu, Another thing we consider misinformation, is to encourage travelers to drive in Italy, we are not saying is not possible, but Driving in Italy, specially in Rome or the Amalfi Coast is quite challenging, not only for the narrow roads but also the traffic rules, and different signs, is definitely NOT recommended for first time travelers wanting to enjoy the sites , they did not make the exceptions while talking to the audience, In another full session, of “Travel experts” in the panel, consumers, were asking many questions, concerns, but mostly problems they encounter, one example, a lady was charged 3 times the same trip, and had 1 year back and forward trying to get her problem solved, she did not get any hopes or answers to her losses.
On the Travel free like the 1%, the “Travel Education network” was “educating” consumers to
At the end of one of the sessions, and thinking of that poor lady, I approached one panelist and asked, Why they couldn’t suggest this lady and others than in the future they could use a Travel Advisor to be protected, and help them all, because most of the problems these consumers could’ve been avoided just by having a Travel advisor. The answer was obvious, She said, “we are not interested in Travel agents” Duh! What was I thinking? to ask such a stupid question, the panel of experts of Yahoo Travel, Trip Advisors and others, will not be interested because they sell travel to consumers, they want them to buy with them online.
The real Trip advisors are humans who work on Travel for a living, The Real Trip advisor, books a minimum average of 600 trips a year, and service hundreds of travelers to all destinations, The Real Trip Advisor spends an average $8k a year in education and Travels an average of 12 times a year. Is very hard for us to see consumers being encouraged to “DIY” their trips, missing out in custom-made vacations, just because large corporations can advertise in huge ways, and use the sales pressure tricks on them, such as “last 2 rooms left” or 60% off price, etc, to get their payments quick. Most of the time, we see plenty of inventory, but the consumers do not have the tools to know, they simply cannot
Our biggest challenge is not the internet, Our biggest challenge is to Educate the consumer
The purpose of this blog is precisely that, to educate consumers, This show like many others do have great information, you can visit the Tourism board booth and get priceless information on a country, cities, and activities, Choose wisely when making the most likely, highest expense of the year, and the precious family memories. Choose a local professional in the field to advice on the best vacation created for you.
Make 2019 the year of Travel experiences, The year you choose your local Travel Agent to help you when a sale comes up, and all along, The year you travel to visit that relative that haven’t see you in years, The year you commit to your bucket list, The year you start bonding with a family travel reunion tradition.
Travel Professionals are the Real Trip Advisors, but we are just not listed as such, in the most popular Travel research sites.
Cessy Meacham CTIE
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