ASATA: From agent to advisor


Are you a lawyer, financial analyst or customer service agent? Yours is a profession that’s been earmarked as one that could potentially be replaced during the AI revolution.

If it makes you feel any better, here at the Association of Southern African Travel Agents we’ve been grappling with the predicted ‘demise’ of our profession for a lot longer, and not just because of technology.

The good news, from experience, is that threats to the survival of your profession aren’t always a bad thing. More often than not, they’re an opportunity to reinvent your role, which brings me to the change we as travel agents have had to undergo to remain and enhance our relevance.

You may have seen reports about the evolution of the role of travel agent to travel advisor. Our transactional role of being the middle-man between a travel supplier and traveller long gone and replaced with a customer-centric travel advisory role.

Want to book a point-to-point flight, car rental or a hotel? Hop onto your online booking tool and with a few taps you’re done. You don’t need to pay a ‘travel agent’ to do that.

And so, we’ve had to critically examine where we can add the most value to you, our customer, when you’re on the road, and change the way we serve you so that we’re deserving of our new title of ‘travel advisor’.

Finding the right travel advisor is a bit like finding the right hairdresser or doctor. You’re entrusting something very personal in the hands of a professional, preferably one that is registered with ASATA, so you’re guaranteed to be working with someone who has committed to delivering professional service, trustworthy behaviour and ethical conduct so you can ‘Travel with Peace of Mind’.

And if you were still in any doubt as to whether AI will replace the new role of ‘travel advisor’ to get you from A to B and beyond, just remember the last time you were stranded at an airport because you missed your connecting flight. There’s only so much assistance and comfort Siri can provide. That’s when you need your travel advisor.

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