Recently, I glanced at an article on the popular travel commentary website SKIFT titled “Strong U.S. Dollar Means Little to Outbound Tourists.”
SKIFT is a relatively new travel industry think tank whose observations can be followed online at no charge at www.skift.com. Its staff do extensive research on topics of interest to the industry and publish articles and entire reports for those who want more detail. They also host forums that produce top-level content on industry issues.
I sent a link to this article to a few colleagues with a note saying that we already knew this about international travelers. In fact, we had already published the finding. The same observation, with much less detail, appeared in this column in our March/April issue.
That’s because at our buyer breakout session at the Select Traveler Conference held last February, many of you gave us a heads-up on this. You said your international travelers are not making decisions based on exchange rates or the strength of the dollar. You said they’re traveling overseas based on their preference for traveling in smaller groups and enjoying a high level of service.
My point is that we have access to some of the most practical, wheels-on-the-ground travel knowledge available due to our communication with all of you. Select Traveler planners are on the front line of figuring out what travelers want and what they are willing to pay. As such, you know things before many of the rest of us.
Such knowledge of travel preferences develops over years in the trenches and allows you to know what many of the rest of us must figure out — including the researchers at SKIFT. If those folks ever want to assemble a focus group to examine issues and trends in the group travel industry, they should start with a few of our Select Traveler readers and delegates.
I hope to see many of you at the 2018 Select Traveler Conference in Louisville.
Email me anytime with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.