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ref=%22https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/14/travel/summer-vacation-travel-agents.html%23after-story-ad-5%22%20target=%22_blank%22%3EContinue%20reading%20the%20main%20story%3C/a%3E%3C/div%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cp%3E%E2%80%9CMy%20advisers%20were%20unwinding%20what%20would%20have%20been%20their%20biggest%20year%20ever,%E2%80%9D%20said%20Ms.%20Burk%20about%20those%20first%20months%20of%20the%20pandemic.%20%E2%80%9CThere%20was%20almost%20a%20grieving%20process.%20They%20went%20from%20making%20a%20huge%20income%20to%20suddenly%20applying%20for%20unemployment.%E2%80%9D%3C/p%3E%3Ch2%20id=%22link-70af7611%22%3EA%20different%20way%20forward%3C/h2%3E%3Cp%3ETravel%20advisers%20hope%20that%20the%20past%20year%20has%20emphasized%20the%20continued%20relevance%20of%20their%20services.%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3E%E2%80%9CWhen%20I%20got%20into%20this%20business%2030%20years%20ago,%20I%20remember%20seeing%20a%20trust%20and%20credibility%20survey%20that%20put%20travel%20agents%20somewhere%20around%20the%20same%20level%20as%20a%20used-car%20salesman,%E2%80%9D%20Mr.%20Ferrara%20said.%20%E2%80%9CI%20think%20the%20adversity%20of%20the%20past%20year%20has%20focused%20travelers%20on%20the%20value%20of%20professional%20advice.%E2%80%9D%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3EIncreased%20interest%20has%20also%20opened%20the%20possibility%20for%20new%20iterations%20of%20travel-planning%20businesses.%20The%20company%20%3Ca%20href=%22https://authentecotravel.com/%22%20target=%22_blank%22%3EAuthenteco%3C/a%3E,%20which%20went%20live%20last%20May,%20has%2024-hour%20text%20messaging%20support%20and%20an%20online%20interface%20allowing%20users%20to%20enter%20their%20travel%20style,%20interests%20and%20desired%20trip%20details%3B%20Authenteco%20has%20seen%20a%20667-percent%20increase%20in%20trip%20requests%20since%20January.%20Another%20company,%20%3Ca%20href=%22https://www.elsewhere.io/%22%20target=%22_blank%22%3Eelsewhere.io%3C/a%3E,%20began%20in%20this%20month%20and%20matches%20travelers%20with%20local%20experts%20to%20craft%20itineraries%20centered%20around%20off-the-beaten-track%20experiences.%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3E%E2%80%9CWe%E2%80%99ve%20seen%20around%20200%20to%20300%20new%20sign-ups%20per%20month,%20since%20November,%20with%20no%20paid%20advertising,%E2%80%9D%20said%20Craig%20Zapatka,%20an%20elsewhere.io%20founder.%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3EAlexis%20Bowen,%20another%20elsewhere.io%20founder,%20said%20that%20the%20company%20stays%20in%20constant%20communication%20with%20its%20network%20of%20local%20experts,%20whether%20based%20in%20South%20Africa%20or%20Mongolia.%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3E%E2%80%9CThey%E2%80%99re%20the%20first%20one%20to%20know%20what%E2%80%99s%20happening%20in%20their%20own%20country,%20getting%20information%20from%20their%20own%20government%20in%20their%20own%20language,%E2%80%9D%20she%20said.%20Having%20an%20accurate%20sense%20of%20how%20these%20local%20communities%20feel%20about%20opening%20up%20to%20travelers,%20before%20advertising%20trips%20there,%20is%20nonnegotiable.%3C/p%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cdiv%3EGET%20THE%20TRAVEL%20DISPATCH%20NEWSLETTER:%20Essential%20news%20on%20the%20changing%20travel%20landscape,%20expert%20tips%20and%20inspiration%20for%20your%20future%20trips.%3C/div%3E%3C/div%3E%3C/div%3E%3C/div%3E%3C/div%3E%3C/div%3E%3C/div%3E%3C/div%3E%3Cdiv%20id=%22story-ad-6-wrapper%22%3E%3Cdiv%20id=%22story-ad-6-slug%22%3E%3Cp%3EAdvertisement%3C/p%3E%3C/div%3E%3Ca%20href=%22https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/14/travel/summer-vacation-travel-agents.html%23after-story-ad-6%22%20target=%22_blank%22%3EContinue%20reading%20the%20main%20story%3C/a%3E%3C/div%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cdiv%3E%3Cp%3E%E2%80%9CA%20big%20part%20of%20our%20company%20is%20about%20evaluating%20the%20positive%20impact%20of%20our%20trips%20on%20the%20ground,%E2%80%9D%20Ms.%20Bowen%20said.%20%E2%80%9CThe%20question%20has%20been,%20is%20it%20actually%20good%20for%20us%20to%20be%20pushing%20travel%20in%20a%20time%20like%20this?%20Is%20this%20really%20good%20for%20the%20destination?%E2%80%9D%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3EShelby%20Dziwulski,%20the%20Authenteco%20founder,%20has%20turned%20down%20clients%20that%20she%20doesn%E2%80%99t%20trust%20to%20be%20responsible%20travelers%20%E2%80%94%20including%20one%20who%20refused%20to%20get%20a%20Covid%20test%20before%20a%20trip.%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3E%E2%80%9CYes,%20we%20want%20to%20plan%20your%20perfect%20vacation%3B%20yes%20we%20want%20it%20to%20be%20all%20about%20you%20and%20want%20it%20to%20be%20phenomenal,%20but%20never%20at%20the%20expense%20of%20a%20destination,%20their%20local%20community%20and%20their%20environment,%E2%80%9D%20she%20said.%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3EWhatever%20the%20style%20of%20trip,%20and%20of%20travel%20agent,%20Ms.%20Richter%20of%20ASTA%20hopes%20that%20travelers%20can%20appreciate%20the%20value%20of%20having%20a%20professional%20in%20their%20corner.%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3E%E2%80%9CYou%20can%20only%20do%20your%20first%20post-pandemic%20vacation%20once.%20We%20hope!%E2%80%9D%20she%20said.%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3EFollow%20New%20York%20Times%20Travel%20%3Cem%3Eon%20%3C/em%3E%3Ca%20href=%22https:/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Summary | 11 Annotations
With more people getting vaccinated and the C.D.C. largely giving the greenlight to travel for those who have had all their shots, a real-deal vacation this summer may be a reality for millions of Americans.
2021/04/15 13:33
“We have clients who are calling us from the 15-minute waiting period after their second vaccine shot,” said Wendy Burk, founder and chief executive of Cadence, a La Jolla, Calif., travel agency. “They’re making sure they don’t have an allergic reaction, and they’re on the phone with their travel adviser saying, ‘Book me now! Book me anything!’”
2021/04/15 13:33
“We had two days in March where we broke records for the number of transactions booked in a single day,” said James Ferrara, the president of InteleTravel, a 60,000-member global travel adviser network. “Our overall business is up 35 percent, not from 2020, which was an aberration, but from 2019, which was the highest year we’d ever had.”Nearly 50 percent of those inquiries are from new customers, Mr. Ferrara said.
2021/04/15 13:34
Once the pandemic started, she found that “going to every hotel website, or calling them to find out what their safety protocols are, that’s a lot of time.”
2021/04/15 13:34
According to ASTA, the travel-agent business (or travel adviser, per a 2018 ASTA rebrand) saw an uptick between 2016 and 2019, because of millennials: This age cohort was eager to outsource the planning and benefit from V.I.P. treatment.
2021/04/15 13:34
According to a flash poll conducted by ASTA, the American Society of Travel Advisors, in early March, 76 percent of travel advisers are seeing an increase in customers in 2021, compared to before the pandemic, and 80 percent are hearing from travelers who have never worked with a travel adviser before.
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“Lots of people got burned last spring. They didn’t have an advocate to call the airline and get their airline tickets or their cruise credited,” Ms. Burk said. “Now, the level of complexity needed to go on a basic trip has drastically increased. A client who, typically, would have planned on their own previously are looking to a professional to say, ‘Please show me the ins and outs.’”
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“A member will ask, ‘We’re interested in Cabo, but we’ve been very cautious. What’s the overall feel there?’ Or, ‘My husband is vaccinated but my kids and I aren’t’,” she said. “We get a lot of inquiries about varying requirements on different Caribbean islands. ‘Will I be able to leave my resort? How many times will I have to get tested?’”
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While the outlook for 2021 is more promising, travel agents are still reeling from the devastation of 2020. According to ASTA, the average agency saw business crater 82 percent last year and it laid off about 60 percent of its staff.
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Increased interest has also opened the possibility for new iterations of travel-planning businesses. The company Authenteco, which went live last May, has 24-hour text messaging support and an online interface allowing users to enter their travel style, interests and desired trip details; Authenteco has seen a 667-percent increase in trip requests since January. Another company, elsewhere.io, began in this month and matches travelers with local experts to craft itineraries centered around off-the-beaten-track experiences.“We’ve seen around 200 to 300 new sign-ups per month, since November, with no paid advertising,” said Craig Zapatka, an elsewhere.io founder.
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Whatever the style of trip, and of travel agent, Ms. Richter of ASTA hopes that travelers can appreciate the value of having a professional in their corner.“You can only do your first post-pandemic vacation once. We hope!” she said.
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