Skift Take

A growing number of travel advisors are offering mystery vacations, created by keeping trip details a secret from clients until the departure date. It puts the surprise element back in travel, which is something often lost these days, but the challenges for advisors are many.

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.

Has the element of surprise gone out of travel in an age where destination videos, images, and reviews are posted everywhere on social media?

Travel advisors specializing in the growing trend of mystery travel clearly think so. That’s why some are making a business out of keeping trip details a secret from clients until the day of departure. While it has proven popular among some travelers who enjoy the sense of discovery, it requires advisors to carefully research their clients’ preferences and travel history before making choices on their behalf.

Even then there are unforeseen challenges such as weather, requiring last-minute changes that can add up to planning an alternate trip. Skift spoke with several travel advisors engaging in this intriguing approach to travel planning about the rewards and pitfalls involved.

For more coverage of pertinent issues, click here.

Any suggestions for the coverage you would like to see are welcome. Feel free to contact me at [email protected].

— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

Featured Stories

Travel Advisors Work in Mysterious Ways to Put Discovery Into Vacations: The allure of a mystery vacation is growing for some travelers as the world continues to shrink, thanks to an overwhelming flood of photos and videos on social media about the world’s great destinations. We see this sector as one set to continue its growth in coming years.

Virtuoso Looks to Help Agencies Get Beyond the Daily Grind: Virtuoso is a you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours kind of business. The luxury travel network has some good programs to help member agencies, and that increases engagement with Virtuoso. It also provides learnings on how to keep refining the company.

Royal Caribbean Is Getting Chinese Cruisers Out of China: Royal Caribbean has spent more than a decade in China building a reputation and customer base. Now that work appears to be paying off in a global way. It won’t hurt travel advisors at all that the cruise line is expanding its customer base.


Caesars Doubles Down on Its Non-Gaming Strategy With New Brand: You can bet the incredible brand recognition of the Caesars name will still prove to be a double-edged sword as Caesars tries to delve deeper into the non-gaming space. It could be a nice alternative for travel advisor clients who favor Chilean sea bass over baccarat.

Travel Megatrends 2019: Everything Is Converging in Hospitality: Airbnb is collecting boutique hotels, and Travelport would like to start offering alternative lodging choices to travel advisors. Is your head spinning?

Hotel Direct Booking Efforts Create Lasting Loyalty: Two years in, it appears that consumers didn’t just sign up for the loyalty programs to get a discount. Or even if they did, they’ve also come to realize the additional benefits of booking direct, including through travel advisors with access to the chains’ loyalty rates.


Wizz Air Pinched by Fuel Price Rise: It might have been a difficult quarter for Wizz Air, but the airline remains broadly optimistic. Along with other airlines, it will be hoping that the UK government comes to some form of agreement over Brexit.


Cvent Data Show Potential Group Booking Slowdown: Advance bookings on the Cvent platform seem to be lagging, which could indicate either a downturn in event bookings or simply the fact that event organizers are booking closer to the time of the actual event.

Priceline Wields New Firepower in Defense Department Deal: Military family members notice when businesses are military-friendly. This deal with the Pentagon is certainly a win for the Priceline brand, if not a gargantuan boost for its business.

Bonus Story Just Because

This Dietician Wanted to Make Taco Bell Healthier: She Got the Job: You’re probably better off not recommending Taco Bell to your clients, but we’d bet a lot more go there than will admit it. Anyway, maybe the haute cuisine there is about to get healthier.

Skift Travel Advisor Editor Maria Lenhart [[email protected]] 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.


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Tags: cruise, royal caribbean, travel advisor innovation report, travel agents, trip planning, Virtuoso

Photo credit: Milena Rocha Vitor went on a mystery trip to Philadelphia planned by a travel agency, Pack Up + Go. She's pictured with a Isaiah Zagar mosaic in the background at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. Pack Up + Go

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