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The Travel Industry Yellow Brick Road

Blog by John Hobbs-Hurrell, Head of The Advantage Global Network

The last two years have taught the travel industry many things. Firstly, there are so many things that we cannot control. Border openings and closures, local restrictions and importantly consumer confidence are among these. Secondly, the travel industry doesn’t always receive the recognition of the service it provides and the contribution to trade and GDP. At Advantage we have made great strides to raise the profile of the travel community, highlighting the great work our members and partners perform across the globe. Slowly we are seeing green shoots appear and renewed optimism for the future.

Recently watching The Wizard of Oz, it struck a chord with me that the wants and needs of the main characters are attributes that our members and travellers have needed over the last two years. Let me explain why.

Dorothy, who was stuck in the Land of Oz, seeks support from the Wizard to return home. How many displaced passengers have been assisted by our TMC and Trade Partners to return home over the last two years? But, in addition, how many passengers are yet to return home or be reunited with their loved ones? The red shoes that she wore became the key to getting home, our members are that vital link in getting passengers travelling again.

One thing all members have had to have is courage and plenty of it. Difficult decisions have had to have been made, businesses struggling as bookings dried up, seeking investment to protect livelihoods. This is something The Cowardly Lion desired, he wanted courage, but in reality, he had it all the time. Our members demonstrate day after day, resilience and desire to succeed. Courage is evident day in, day out, across the globe.

The Scarecrow in the movie wanted a brain, now I am not suggesting our members need the same. Comparisons here are around the entrepreneurial aspect of businesses, looking at ways that the TMC could support their client beyond the usual booking services and using technology to future proof their businesses. We have seen many examples of travel businesses evolving in preparation for the return of travel and looking at alternative revenue streams.

Finally, we have the Tin Man. He wanted a heart, but the wizard convinced him he already had one. A love for travel is forged in the DNA of our members. They are the beating heart of our industry and every day they support travellers; in turn, the Advantage Team publicly advocates the role of the Travel Agent.

Many members and partners will be taking early steps on the travel industry equivalent of the Yellow Brick Road, as we approach the end of the year that promised so much. A route that we believe will lead to better things in 2022, but we know will need a healthy dose of courage, strong hearts and headstrong determination.

The Advantage Global Network is with you every step of the way. Our passion for the industry is as strong as ever.