Tour operators are providing more tools for travel agents to promote their products, including one that helps them to show their clients the ins and outs of how tour programs are conceived and arranged.
The USTOA's Modern Day Explorers video series is expanding each month. Each of the videos shows tour operator staff exploring options and activities that visitors might also enjoy.
The first video followed Louise Shumbris of Abercrombie & Kent's as she researched the company's first itineraries to the Philippines. The filmmakers followed her in off-the-beaten path locations, meeting with a marine biologist, visiting a local village and nature reserve and touring luxury hotels.
Other videos follow Carol Dimopoulos of Perillo's Learning Journeys in Malta; Bronwyn Hodge of Goway Travel in Tahiti; Kasey Austin of Austin Adventures in Yellowstone; and, in a video to be released later this month, Rebecca Ryan of Cox & Kings in Chile.
USTOA CEO and president Terry Dale said the two- to three-minute videos are a valuable tool for travel agents to build a relationship with their clients considering a tour program.
"USTOA members acknowledge and value the important role travel agents play as advisers to consumers," Dale said in an email. "That's why we're committed to supporting our travel agent partners through education, dialogue and tools, such as these videos, that help sell tours and vacation packages more effectively."
He said the videos are inspiring because they "go beyond the surface of a destination" and show how tour operators work to provide programs that "immerse travelers in the food, adventure, and culture of the destination."
"Research shows that consumers watch travel videos as part of the decision-making process in planning a trip," he said. "Each Modern Day Explorer video is designed with a goal to inspire viewers to take their own journey of discovery."