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.

Virgin Voyages, which started its sales to the public last week, is not bashful about its pricing, but that could be good news for travel advisors. When the cruise line starts service in April 2020, a five-night cruise that includes Havana will start at $3,650 per cabin. However, that price will include most of the onboard experiences, including dining, gratuities, and Wi-Fi.

This is a marked contrast to the industry trend for cruise lines, especially at the mass market level, to entice passengers with cheap fares and then nickel-and-dime them with charges (mostly non-commissionable) once they get on board. So advisors stand to benefit from higher commissions, plus gain the ability to offer a new product that may appeal to clients who don’t normally take cruises. For more about Virgin Voyages’ travel agency program, click here.

Also on the high-priced front, a new survey of Australian travelers shows that, despite the country’s weakening economy, demand for luxury vacations is strong. Australian travel advisors are benefitting from the trend, crafting customized experiences and providing the kind of high-touch service this segment requires.

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 mbl@skift.com.
— Maria Lenhart, Travel Advisor Editor

Featured Stories

Virgin Voyages Wants Cruisers to Pay a Premium (and Like It): Virgin Voyages has set its prices much higher than a typical Caribbean cruise, but the operator is including more perks in the price — and insists it will be anything but typical. Will fans of the brand pony up?

Why Aren’t Visitors Splurging in Crazy Rich Singapore? Singapore grapples with affordability, as seen in drops in shopping, dining, and hotel spending by tourists, who are also staying a shorter time. Going for more high-yield tourists and giving them the value they’d expect from paying high prices is the solution, and Singapore must do it fast.

Australian Travel Advisors Find That Luxury Clients Still Care About Price: Survey findings about a healthy luxury travel market in Australia demonstrate significant and lucrative opportunities for travel advisors who can meet clients’ lofty expectations while still delivering value.

Tourism

Still Healing, Caribbean Predicts Strong Tourism Growth: It didn’t take long for travelers across the world to start booking their vacations in the Caribbean again, even in the hardest-hit areas. That being said, the threat of another disaster always looms.

Six Flags’ Global Growth Plans Are Running Into Economic Roadblocks: Six Flags’ big ambitions for international expansion are meeting economic reality. The theme park operator still finds potential in partnerships outside the United States, but expectations have to be adjusted.

Skift Podcast: Why Travel Should Be Optimistic About 2019: Tune in to hear the reasons the travel industry could be in for a good year — or the factors that could steer 2019 off course.

Hotels

Wyndham Hotels Still Struggles to Add Improved Rooms in U.S.: The hotel conglomerate shouldn’t rely too much on one brand to drive domestic growth, but so far that’s exactly what’s happening.

Business Travel

Independent Meeting Planners Fight Back Against Commission Cuts: It’s been just over a year since Marriott made its move, the first in a wave of such measures. But instead of getting knocked down by the trend, independent meeting planners are finding ways to take control of their businesses.

Deem Plans Growth With Backing From Enterprise: With support from Enterprise Holdings, Deem plans on growing and refining its existing products. On the horizon, though, lurks the promise of a new travel platform to help the company evolve in a competitive global corporate travel market.

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 a cabin on a Virgin Voyages ship. The cruise line is offering premium pricing on its sailings. Virgin Voyages