The Perks of Modern Day Travel Agencies

In a 21st Century world of apps and automation, planning a trip seems to be easier than ever before. However with the time-consuming task of fielding through unlimited choices of hotels, flights, and activities, the process can become overwhelming to handle alongside a busy work and home schedule. For many, the solution is to simply go back to basics and hire a travel agency. Taking a more traditional approach in allowing an expert to tackle the task of planning your business trip or vacation may just be the answer to all your travel troubles.

Photo: Zocha Group – Travel Agencies


Why Travel Agencies?

Travel agencies began to pop up around the US following the commercial aviation boom of the 1920s. As the years progressed, suddenly travel agencies became a necessity, as the average person didn’t have the access or know-how to arrange for their own accommodations. Almost one-hundred years later, consumers have gotten used to the idea of booking their own accommodations by way of websites or apps that suggest handling the arrangements yourself is the easiest way to go. While being a viable solution for some, the travel agent alternative still proves to be an option worth exploring. There is still a growing market for travel agencies, despite the competition from self-booking technology. MMGY Global conducted research in 2015 showing that 34% of Millennial travelers used an offline travel agency, and 39% said they would do so again in the near future. So what could be continuing this demand for a travel representative in the face of supposedly easier technology solutions?


Photo: Zocha Group – Travel Agencies


The answer involves many reasons, most revolving around convenience. Since travel agents need to stay competitive in the industry, the cost of hiring their services has dropped tremendously. Technological aspects of booking have not only impacted consumers, but also agents. They too have acquired better resources which help reduce the cost of running their businesses. Travel agency fees are much more reasonable in recent years, making the decision to hire a middle-man all the more feasible. In addition to affordability, another reason the industry is thriving ironically stems from the same element trying to overtake it. The information age has ushered in an endless amount of reviews, testimonials, and ratings for each and every type of accommodation one can imagine. Attempting to sift through this flurry of information for relevance can be an inundating task. Travel agents are certified to be knowledgeable about the locations they work with, and only profit from their clients enjoying their trips. Their first-hand recommendations can be a great way to enjoy your destination without having to do dozens of hours of research. This is especially helpful for complicated trips with multiple destinations, where structuring departures, arrivals, and check-ins can involve a great deal of time and energy.


Photo: Zocha Group – Travel Agencies


The travel agent industry also has a symbiotic relationship with the locations they work with, where deals and VIP perks are available to pass along to their clients. Agents are able to send business to these destinations in exchange for their guests getting exclusive treatment. This has also shown to be especially valuable for destinations affected by a natural disaster. While many guests are quick to reconsider travel to these regions, thinking the area won’t be conducive to travelling, agents are able to provide realistic details like recent photos or live webcam links to their resort, helping re-build clients’ confidence in their trip. Travel agents working with Caribbean destinations are credited with helping tourism return after Hurricanes Maria and Irma, drawing well-needed business to the area.


Photo: Zocha Group – Travel Agencies

Human Connections

The human connection between client and agent seems to be the main reason travel agency businesses continue to flourish. The convenience of being able to speak with an expert face-to-face seems to outweigh that of being able to book through technological means. Whether it’s a quick business trip or an extended family vacation, the industry savvy of a travel agent may just be the perfect way to ensure a flawless travel experience.


Photo: Zocha Group – Travel Agencies

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Innovation and Growth at Techweek Los Angeles

This past November, Los Angeles was visited by Techweek—an innovation-focused media company with a goal to unite businesses, talent and entrepreneurs at their annual week-long conference. Traveling across the country to tech hubs like Chicago, Miami, and New York, the Techweek conference champions the growth of sustainable companies that are able to generate wealth alongside making a positive impact on the ecosystem of the industry. Speakers from burgeoning companies from around the world shared their expertise in what it takes to build a business in the modern tech landscape.

Photo: Santa Monica


Hero Companies

A common phrase heard throughout the week was talk of “Hero Companies,” which are the focus of Techweek’s guidance. These are companies which put sustainability and impact at the head of their brand’s mission. A Hero Company will foster creativity and innovation while simultaneously achieving efficiency in growth and profit. Speakers from Hero Companies were present throughout the week to offer advice to attendees in areas such as start-ups, artificial intelligence, fundraising, and more. 


Photo: Techweek Los Angeles

The Panel

A panel on Customer Acquisition included Grant Langston, CEO of eHarmony, in a discussion on how to acquire customers in consumer-facing businesses. Another dialogue on Startup Growth was presented by Oracle. Speakers touched on a variety of topics such as producing a customer acquisition strategy and maintaining brand credibility. A fireside chat hosted by Verisign included Brand Name Expert Alexandra Watkins, who educated attendees about brainstorming creative ideas for company names. During the Algorithm for Success panel, experts from immigrant communities discussed how to provide exposure to tech programs amongst immigrant youth, along with how immigrant accessibility to information via tech has become of increasing importance in recent years.

The Growth Financing panel was especially relevant for Hero Companies, as both of the companies that were represented are working towards making strides in the health and medical industry. Greg Drobnick, the Co-Founder of Heal, a website and app for patients to book house calls with doctors, was joined by Belinda Tan, Co-Founder of Science 37—a company that makes clinical trials more available to participants and pushes to accelerate medical discovery.  Both provided insight in how they gathered funding in the initial stages of their companies, along with how and where to properly spend investment money after funds are raised.


Photo: Techweek – Grant Langston, eHarmony

Founders and Funding

Another standout was the Founder and Funding dialogue, which consisted of an all-female panel of entrepreneurs from SheWorx, Stop, Breathe & Think, FitFabFun, and The Flex Company. Each at different stages of growth in their businesses, they touched on subjects of selling your vision, pre-seed funding, and venture capital.

Aside from panels, the conference also included a Startup Showcase, Women in Tech Breakfast, Hiring Fest, and a Leadership Development Bootcamp. Techweek’s Founder’s House was also a draw for attendees. The invitation-only cocktail event featured Augmented and Virtual Reality gadgets, complimentary massages, and personal chefs that enhanced the networking experience. Techweek’s many activities and speakers helped contribute invaluable information from Hero Companies all around the world to further educate members of Los Angeles’ tech industry, and proves to be an event worth attending in years to come.


Photo: Techweek Los Angeles Virtual Reality

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Photo: Techweek Los Angeles

Photo: Techweek Los Angeles

Photo: Techweek Los Angeles; Jason Brooks, Grant Langston, John Tabis, Khudor Annous, Steve Weiss

Photo: Techweek Los Angeles

Photo: Techweek Los Angeles; Chang Xu, David Oh, Erik Huberman, Cristina Escoda, Spencer Stephens