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.

These are robust times for the cruise industry, with both passenger demand and ship choices on the rise this year. While this is bringing more opportunity for travel advisors, it also means more complexity in learning about the products and knowing which ones make sense to focus on. Just selling mass-market cruises and only earning commissions on the base fares is no way to achieve profitability, according to cruise sales experts.

Savvy travel advisors are instead concentrating on the upper end of the market, including river cruises, which offer all-inclusive pricing and therefore higher commissions. They’re also getting creative in offering clients attractive shore excursion alternatives, private transfers, and pre- and post-cruise options. Along with this, successful advisors are investing time in learning about the products and cultivating good working relationships with cruise-line business development managers.

Now that it’s been a few months since the Mexican government closed most of its tourism offices and slashed marketing support, Skift looks at what this means for destinations and tour companies in Mexico. Sadly, the impact for some has been immediate and devastating, exacerbating an already challenging situation.

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

Travel Advisors Find Already Complex Cruise Bookings Are Getting Even Harder: This might be the best time in history for travel advisors to sell cruises, but it’s also the most complex. Those who take time to know the growing array of cruise choices and focus on the high end of the market are the most likely to succeed.

Mexico Tours and Activities Operators Feel the Pain of Tourism Board Demise: Cuts to the Mexico Tourism Board are having an immediate impact on local operators in some of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. A lack of marketing resources is especially difficult for some of the country’s smallest and often most alluring places.

Hotels

Taco Bell Will Open a Boutique Hotel This Summer: There is little doubt that a limited-time hotel offering will attract the fast food chain’s superfans in droves — and result in some extra revenue for the company.

IHG to Launch New Upper-Midscale Brand Atwell Suites: The hotel group is pushing forward on its goal of quickly adding new brands across the hospitality spectrum. The only question is: What will it add next?

Keeping Up With Escalating Standards in Luxury Hospitality: The level of competition at the ultra-premium end of hospitality is unimaginably high, and it keeps getting higher. Extraordinary service and experiences quickly become table stakes as guest expectations continue to skyrocket. A culture of creativity gives the best hoteliers that distinctive edge.

Tourism

EasyJet Flies Toward Uncertain Summer of a European Slowdown: It’s not a great time to be running a European short-haul airline, but EasyJet is trying to make the best of it. While growing its holiday and business travel offerings is probably a smart move, it’s difficult to see them making much of a difference if the economic climate keeps getting worse.

Battered Mozambique Tourism Looks Beyond Cyclone Devastation: There’s some hard work ahead to correct public perceptions, but luxury tourism in northern Mozambique should be able to weather the fallout from Cyclone Kenneth. And the local economy needs it now, more than ever.

Corporate Travel

Travel Managers: Fraud and Data Breaches On the Rise: Fraud is much more common than getting hit with a legit data breach, but travel managers are paying more attention to cybersecurity in the wake of high-profile incidents. Virtual cards can help with the small stuff too.

Online Travel

Google Travel Looks More Like an Online Travel Agency by Putting All the Pieces Together: Google has taken a huge next step, putting all the pieces together, by including flights, hotels, packages, and trip-planning tools on a dedicated website and in Google Search and Google Maps. Google’s foothold in travel just got even larger.

Booking Drops Hotel Requirement to Book Tours and Activities: Booking.com’s hotel focus has given way to a strategy to serve travelers at every portion of the trip. TripAdvisor already does it, Expedia too. Airbnb is on that full-service road. So Booking.com will have plenty of company.

Amazon Launches Flight Bookings in India in a Superapp Strategy: A shoe just dropped. Amazon is stepping into travel again. It may offer travel products in all sizes once it really gets going.

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: River cruising, such as a Viking River Cruise, has more commission opportunities for travel advisors than some mass-market sailings do. Viking River Cruise