I offer my apologies in advance for what I think will ultimately be a very rambling column on some observations on what I see as the new breed of travel agent. I think the travel industry is in the beginning stages of a renaissance of sorts. For years, we have been lamenting the lack of new blood in the industry and I think it is changing.
I purchased my first agency in 1996 shortly after the airlines began to cut commissions. I still felt there was life in the industry (and for the record I still do); but I was a new type of owner. In the past, many agencies were side businesses used to facilitate personal travel for the owner–certainly not all, but many. Many agencies were owned by the spouses of high-earning professionals seeking to take advantage of the discounts and freebies offered by travel partners—when they were actually partners.