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.

As cruise ports grow ever-more congested and travelers seek alternatives to coach tours, it’s little wonder that third-party shore excursion companies featuring small groups and curated experiences are finding favor with passengers. Unless they offer all-inclusive pricing, cruise lines usually don’t pay commissions on excursions, but the independent companies do.

While some passengers may be concerned with issues such as getting back to the ship on time, this appears not to be a problem with reputable shore excursion companies. Of course, vetting companies on their safeguards and contingency plans is always a good idea.

At the same time, perhaps as a result of increased competition, many cruise lines are upping their game on shore excursions by offering small-group and customized options that are a far cry from the dreaded coach tour.

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

Shore Excursions Not Run by Cruise Lines Are a Hit With Passengers and Travel Advisors Alike: Independent shore excursions are proliferating, enabling passengers to avoid the crowds and travel advisors to earn commissions. With competition more intense, some cruise lines are attempting to improve their excursion offerings as a result.

Travel Agencies Still Make 7 Times More in Commissions Than Fees: Travel advisors need to further diversify their revenue beyond commissions. That’s for sure.

More Cruise

Federal Judge Warns Carnival on Ocean Pollution: Promise Less, Act More: Carnival Corp. may now make a point of trumpeting its sustainability efforts, but it’s worth remembering that it’s on environmental probation for a reason.

Andy Stuart Is Leaving Norwegian Cruise Line: For much of his 31-year tenure at Norwegian, Andy Stuart was in a sales and marketing role, speaking to agents, attending conferences, and fighting for the importance of agents within the company.

Airports

LAX Leads Airport Stand Against Uber and Lyft Congestion: This is a bad development for frequent flyers. Many Uber and Lyft riders value their time, and they don’t want to have to hop on a shuttle bus to get to a rideshare pickup area. Here’s a better idea: Let people arrange for rideshare pickups at the terminals — but only if they pay extra money for the privilege.

Tourism

What Is the Future of Packaged Vacations After Thomas Cook’s Collapse? Package holidays are changing and under pressure, but in markets such as the UK, Germany, China, and Canada, these offline options still have their place. Failure to adapt was a contributing factor in Thomas Cook’s demise, but there were a whole bunch of other things going on as well.

Airbnb Launches Its First Annual Animal-Friendly Experiences: Airbnb Experiences continues to expand as the company launches its first animal-friendly category. The company encourages animal lovers to put away their tech devices with the funny dog videos and connect with wildlife in a safer environment. It’s just good business for Airbnb too.

Indonesia’s Komodo Island Will Stay Open But New Fee Could Be as High as $1,000: So the good news is Komodo Island won’t be closed. The bad news is a “membership” fee, which could be as high as $1,000, will be introduced. Indonesian authorities never cease to goof up on one of its most important tourism attractions.

TripAdvisor to End Ticket Sales to Attractions Featuring Captive Marine Mammals: With its new policy, TripAdvisor is making a clear statement about the use of marine animals for entertainment. Will it be setting a trend for others to follow? Even more interesting will be seeing how companies like SeaWorld react.

Hotels

IHG’s Six Senses Goes a Step Further on Being Green Among Hotel Chains: While other chains may have difficulty getting owners to spend on sustainability, Six Senses commits them by management contract. And while other chains are just getting rid of single-use plastic straws and bottles, Six Senses wants to be completely free of plastics by 2022. Will parent IHG follow suit?

Skift Global Forum Videos

Catch Skift Global Forum 2019 Interviews, Now on Video: It’s not too late to join the party. If you missed Skift Global Forum last month, we have your back. Videos from our session interviews with travel CEOs and leaders are now available.

Aviation

What’s Gone Wrong at American Airlines? American Airlines has made a lot of excuses for its performance this year. It blames so many of its problems on a labor dispute and the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max. But perhaps there’s something more here?

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.

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Photo Credit: Whether it's a surf lesson or a foodie tour, shore excursions run by companies independent of cruise lines are gaining traction. Bloomberg