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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.

For many travel advisors, January through March is not just winter, it’s wave season. It’s a frenetic time when cruise lines roll out tempting early-booking incentives — everything from fare discounts to free Wi-Fi and spa treatments — in order to fill staterooms for the upcoming year.

While wave season is no less busy for travel agencies this year, in some ways it’s not business as usual. Travel advisors are reporting that more cruisers, whether experienced or first-timers, are looking at remote, less-visited destinations. They also want more immersive experiences in port. Some are also asking more questions about cruise lines’ records on sustainability and making choices based on what they find.

Other trends point to surging demand for premium suites as well as accommodations geared for families or solo travelers. Travel advisors are telling clients that not only is booking during wave season best for value, it’s crucial for securing what they want on board.

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 Story

Travel Advisors See Changing Cruiser Preferences for Peak Booking ‘Wave Season: Travel advisors say this year’s “wave season” is showing strong preferences for less-visited ports and immersive land experiences. There are also indicators that passengers are more likely to hold the cruise industry accountable on sustainability.

Hotels

Most Big Hotel Chains Are Now Committed on Plastics: Here’s the Problem With Promises: We’re drowning in press releases about global hotel companies promising to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics. Most of these items require alternatives though, so what are they?

Opening Closed Doors: Can Hotels Do More to Fight Human Trafficking? Human trafficking touches every corner of the travel industry — especially hotels. And while the accommodations sector didn’t create the problem, it does have an elevated responsibility to put an end to it. The question is: How effective have the industry’s efforts been so far?

Airlines

JetBlue CEO Warns Flight Shaming Is Coming to the U.S.: It may have started as a fringe movement in Sweden, but flight shaming is coming to the U.S. JetBlue plans to head it off at the pass by investing in offsetting programs and biofuels. But its real green deal may be in its new aircraft.

Former Thomas Cook Unit Condor Sold to Polish Airline Group: The deal secures Condor’s immediate future. But can a small carrier group really hope to compete against the might of Lufthansa and low-cost carriers such as Ryanair?

Online

What’s Behind Barry Diller’s Patient Approach to Expedia? It increasingly looks like what we expected will happen will come true: Chairman Barry Diller is likely to make Expedia Group’s acting boss Peter Kern the permanent CEO. It’s very probable, too, that Diller is shopping the online agency giant to potential buyers. But who would buy?

Wex Buys Enett from Travelport for $1.7 Billion in a Travel Payments Mashup: With this deal, Wex now becomes a powerhouse in assisting business-to-business travel payments worldwide. The deal also gives cash to seller Travelport, which might use the money to expand its airline tech offerings.

Tourism

How Travel Is Saving Japan’s Disappearing Hamlets: Japan’s marginal villages could be living on borrowed time as populations dwindle, but tourism is bringing respite. Here’s how.

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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: Hurtigruten Cruises' MS Fram in Cozumel Harbor, Mexico. Cruisers are choosing off-the-beaten-path destinations. Dietmar Denger / Hurtigruten Cruises