At the end of 2022, Travel Weekly noted that agencies had not only recovered from the pandemic but were thriving, creating a problem they could have only dreamed of in the throes of Covid: being overwhelmed with demand.
It’s a problem that only grew in 2023.
The need for advisors this year was higher than ever as consumers began traveling voraciously and looked to advisors for help. Travel Institute president Diane Petras said in June that she was concerned there could be a shortage of adequately trained advisors lasting into the next decade.
Everyone from ASTA to the largest consortia spent much of this year looking to find, hire and train advisors, with recruitment and educational initiatives becoming an industrywide priority.
ASTA CEO Zane Kerby said in May that the Society would use a $250,000 donation from Norwegian Cruise Line to attract new talent. In June Virtuoso launched the Virtuoso Advisor Recruitment Program, and the Gifted Travel Network purchased access to Lucia, a freelancer marketplace for the travel industry, for all of its members.
But success in hiring more agents has not solved the problem entirely, owing to a lack of programs to onboard them quickly.
Petras said the Travel Institute is on track to enroll 5,000 students this year, more than double its typical number. And with the “inordinate amount of new people” entering the industry, the institute plans to launch its first scholarships for advisors to enroll in Tripkit, its introductory-level training program, next year.