"Is there still a market for travel agents in 2017?" I have seen this question hundreds of times while setting 1 Life up. Believe me, no one has doubted it more than I myself have. The brick and mortar agencies of yesteryear are few and far between and when I talked to my peers about becoming a travel agent, the comment I heard most was "oh yeah, I think my Mom used to have one of those".
So why would I even consider putting the time and money and effort into a travel agency when anyone can go online and plan trips themselves?
Because the answer I came up with after months of research, soul searching, speaking with established agents and tour operators is "yes". Yes, there is still a need for travel professionals because people are still traveling. The generations before me who depended on agents are still prioritizing travel. Families still make memories at Disneyland. Millennials like myself travel for work more than ever and we study abroad and find dream destinations on Pinterest and Instagram.
But we have less and less time, which is the exact opposite effect that the internet was supposed to have on our society. We spend most of our time staring at the screens of our smart phones instead of the world around us.
I want to make it easier for people to get out there and see more. I know it might seem silly to pursue a travel career when the need for them is, according to a lot of people, declining. But where some may see a waste of time, I see an opportunity. I have done extensive research on the need for agents and here is what I have learned:
- Our role is evolving and this is necessary to our survival. Embracing ever-changing technology is key.
- We need to earn back the trust of my generation who has probably never had a relationship with an agent and is skeptical to the idea of using one.
- If I am going to compete with the internet, I need to provide what websites cannot: a personal relationship. (This is where a decade of customer service comes in!)
- To survive in this market, I need to be the very best at what I do.....and so I will be!
So with the self-doubt that any small business owner faces, here I am. I cannot express my immense gratitude to you reading this and joining me on my journey. I would love any questions, concerns or suggestions that you have as I grow to better serve my clients. I decided on the name "1 Life" because I want to help people get everything they possibly can out of their one wild and precious life. It is also a phrase that has motivated me to keep building this business when criticism would have otherwise defeated me.
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs