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Published on : Friday, May 15, 2015
With sites such as Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline.com creating an increasingly technology-dominated landscape for consumers booking their travel, the role of travel agents continues to be marginalized, says industry innovator Vian Andrews. Yet, without the human touch of experienced travel agents, “many travelers can’t really tailor their travel to suit their individual needs or find the best deals on these giant OTA sites,” he says. His mission is to help make travel agents more accessible to consumers, to ensure consumers continue to appreciate their value.
“I am totally committed to providing travel agents with powerful tools to compete for business and to fight the encroachments of the major OTAs,” he says. “That’s why we developed TravelforAgents.com and integrated numerous business management, business-building, and marketing modules critical to their success.”
Among the most important business building tool for agents that Andrews created is TripNut.com, a powerful online community of travelers that continues to grow and is on pace to reach millions of members during the next several years. At its core, TripNut.com is a social media site, but it is designed for those who love to travel – or just enjoy interacting with those who do. It allows members to do research, plan itineraries, book their trips, document their travels, and share their experiences with family and friends, or with the wider TripNut Community. Most importantly, TripNut members have the opportunity to connect with a professional “Agent on Call” who can assist with their travel needs.
“Travel agents are essential to TripNut’s success because they provide the human touch to the community’s high tech features,” said Andrews. “The integration of ‘high touch’ and ‘high tech’ provides travel agents and travelers with a winning combination.”
Heeding the ‘Call’
To become an “Agents on Call” in the TripNut community, agents first register on TravelforAgents.com, where they gain access to the TripNut invitation system that allows them to invite their customers and other potential leads to join TripNut. The agent then becomes the personal “Agent on Call” to those who accept the invitation.
Of further benefit to the agent, those who join TripNut can then refer other members, who can refer other members, and so on. Every referral becomes the agent’s client, contributing to the agent’s income earning potential. Agents can earn commissions by providing travel services in the usual way – through personal consultation – but, as Andrews points out, “they also earn a big share of the net profits generated from all the online bookings done by their extended client base in the TripNut Community. In short, we are turning the trend toward online booking into an income generator for agents registered in TravelforAgents.com.”
Andrews adds: “Make no mistake: travel agents are the ‘secret sauce’ that drives the success of the TripNut Community. We’re transforming social media and crowdsourcing techniques into a huge advantage for travel agents everywhere, and we’re starting to make an impact. Over 7,200 agents have already registered and more are joining every day, as others learn about our ‘high tech – high touch’ solution.”