Whether you are a home-based travel advisor or you work in a large office servicing high-profile accounts, the Travel Advisor Innovation Report will have you covered with the trends, news and features you’ll need to stay on top of an ever-changing marketplace.

While reflecting the very different styles of their parent companies, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and Virgin Voyages have a similar message to travel advisors: You can sell us to your clients who don’t normally take cruises. As they prepare to launch their first ships in 2020, the new cruise lines are targeting agencies with clienteles already drawn to the parent companies’ respective brands.

Skift talked to the CEOs of both lines about how they will be partnering with agents and the opportunities they will have to sell their cruises to luxury travelers, whether experienced cruisers or not.

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Any suggestions for the coverage you would like to see are welcome. Feel free to contact me at mbl@skift.com.

— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

Featured Stories

Ritz and Virgin Cruise CEOs Think Agents Will Benefit From Brand Clout: As they ramp up their outreach to travel advisors, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection and Virgin Voyages are both presenting themselves as new and different options for luxury clients. They say this means agents will be able to sell cruises to those who don’t normally cruise, but who are intrigued by the brands.

Instagrammer Turned Her Following Into a Luxury Travel Advisor Business: Justyna Smith built up a modest Instagram following, and she’s used that, plus word of mouth, to run a four-woman luxury travel agency that’s making money. Many businesses decide to market wherever the customers are; in Smith’s case, the customers came to her and the business followed.

Latest In Lodging

H​ow’s Marriott’s Massive Loyalty Merger Going? We Asked 5 Starwood Members​ to Weigh In: Most Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest members enjoyed a seamless integration earlier this year when the two programs merged. For some, however, latent issues are still hampering the experience. We asked five Starwood members about their journeys.

Hotels Summer Occupancy Saw Second Largest Drop Since Recession: The United States thankfully had fewer hurricanes this year. But because of that good news, some hotel markets are posting occupancy drops because fewer people needed them this year. That’s likely indicative of how soft those markets were before the storms hit.

The Big-Money Reinvention of the Humble Hostel: A Skift Deep Dive: Money is flowing into the hostels market and established hotel companies want a piece. Will this new corporatization cost hostels the soul of their original mission?

Tourism Tidbits

International Visitors to U.S. This Year Expected to Break Record After Data Glitch Fix: After some confusion on visitor counts over a data glitch at airport kiosks across the country, international arrivals in the United States are on track to break a record in 2018. We’ll see if long-term growth ends up being as robust as the federal government is touting.

Rome Tour Bus Restriction Stirs Europe’s Latest Overtourism Controversy: Bus tours are popular because they reduce walking and exhaustion while bringing travelers to the doorsteps of popular attractions while handling logistics. But Rome is about to upend that equation with a new regulation aimed at curtailing overtourism, prompting fears among many tour operators that the restrictions will cause tourism businesses to take a hit.

Caribbean Destinations Gear Up for Pot Tourism Even While Weed is Still Illegal: Pot tourism has become a big business in places like Colorado where marijuana has been legalized. Caribbean tourism officials wish local governments would legalize the drug to get pot tourism experiences and events on the map.

Airline Developments

This Startup Is Selling Fly-by-the-Hour Airline Gift Cards: This startup has the JetBlue Tech Ventures seal of approval, which means something in the travel space. But we’re not sure why consumers would rather receive a gift card for airplane hours, than a gift card worth cash.

Alaska Airlines Mimics Larger U.S. Rivals By Adding No-Frills Fare Class: Just a few years old, the basic fare is now firmly entrenched. Last week, Alaska Air Group Inc. began selling its version, and JetBlue Airways Corp. is preparing to launch a similar offering in mid-2019. (Southwest Airlines is the only major player to have eschewed this ultra-no-frills fare.)

Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [mbl@skift.com] curates the Skift Travel Advisor Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday. Have a story idea? Or a juicy news tip? Want to share a memo? Send her an email.

Photo Credit: A rendering of the Dock lounge and restaurant area on the adult-only Scarlet Lady, Virgin Voyages' first ship. Virgin Voyages