In certain sub-sectors — luxury and cruise spring to mind — travel agents still play a big part in driving sales. Hoteliers and tour operators know this and are happy to splash the cash in order to get some of their business.
Luxury Travel News
The Skift New Luxury column is our weekly column focused on the business of selling luxury travel, the people and companies creating and selling experiences, emerging trends, and the changing consumer habits around the sector.
Travel agents are still a key part of the travel ecosystem, especially at the luxury end of the market with consumers happy to outsource their travel planning to professionals.
Underscoring their importance are the many ways luxury travel companies — especially hotels and tour operators — are willing to accommodate agents.
Hotels offer benefits such as early check-in and late checkout for clients, as well as fast-track upgrades, while tour operator Abercrombie & Kent holds a biennial get-together for its best performing agents.
The internet may have revolutionized travel retailing, but for some parts of the industry, the human touch remains crucial.
— Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor
5 Looks at Luxury
How Luxury Operators Dial Into Top-Producing Agents: It’s an old business axiom that 20 percent of customers are responsible for 80 percent of one’s business. Top travel companies are recognizing this is certainly the case in the world of luxury travel agents. That’s why more and more of them are starting to create novel programs for their best sellers.
Why Luxury Hotels Are Investing in Family-Friendly Programs: What appear to be simple marketing schemes are in fact thoughtful curations that have the double effect of attracting new customers and, if executed correctly, their return. Happy children mean happy parents and there’s no better way to secure another booking.
Hyatt’s New Alliance Hints at the Future of Hotel Loyalty Programs: If independent hotel collections like Small Luxury Hotels of the World and its peers want to thrive, pursuing more loyalty tie-ins seems likely, but they have to be careful to stress the additional value they can bring for independent hotels. Otherwise, what’s stopping independents from flocking to the hotel soft brands?
Royal Caribbean Is Giving Its New Silversea Fleet a Luxury Upgrade: It’s probably good news that the first move Royal Caribbean made after closing its majority stake in Silversea was announcing improvements to its fleet. We’ll be curious to see what those upgrades include — and how the experience changes for passengers.
Cruise Lines Are Carving Out Exclusive Spaces for the Biggest Spenders: This ship-within-a-ship concept isn’t new, but it does appear to be gaining in popularity. Sometimes cruise passengers want a ton of amenities, and sometimes — especially if they can afford it — they want a break from crowds and more personal service. It makes sense for big-ship lines to offer a hybrid.
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Photo credit: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao in Laos. Belmond is one of a number of hoteliers that runs a club for luxury agents. Belmond