Constant new beginnings required to remain relevant are a positive for all of us, says Cosmos and Avalon Waterways chief executive Giles Hawke
Fifty years as the UK’s leading trade paper is a significant achievement.
During that time, Travel Weekly has had to reinvent itself several times and constantly keep abreast of latest developments and the changing needs of its readership.
Successful tour operators and travel agents have had to do exactly the same thing, by looking at what is available to improve the customer experience and understanding changes in customer requirements.
Operators have had to adapt to how customers want to book and, similarly to the trade press, reinvent themselves to stay relevant and valuable.
But there is one constant that runs through all the best businesses, whether publishers, tour operators, cruise lines or travel agents, and that is amazing people, who strive to make those businesses the best they can be every single day.
Even as we talk about future changes and the introduction of artificial intelligence; even as we hear the regular harbingers of doom foreseeing the demise of the high street travel agent; even as online booking and the rise of the mega-OTAs threaten to put ‘traditional’ players out of business – even with all of these threats, those agents who are reinventing themselves while offering amazing service are doing more than just surviving, they are thriving.
When I open Travel Weekly, I love reading about new store openings, new agencies setting up, the growth of homeworking groups, record booking years and bumper high‑value bookings for travel agents. It heartens me that knowledge, advice and the human touch continue to be the core traits that customers value and that, despite the pace of change and the constant need for reinvention, some things remain constant.
Along with all other operators who see travel agents as a core way of selling our holidays today and into the future, I would like to thank you all for your constancy in this fast-changing world.
The constant new beginnings required to remain relevant to customers are a positive for all of us as they keep our businesses fresh and exciting.
Even within the business that I run in the UK, which has been around for 90 years, there is a constant reinvention. The Cosmos of today is very different to the one of five years ago and vastly different from that of 50 years ago. We are about to launch our own slight redesign and adapt our product even more to suit our British travellers. We introduced river cruising through Avalon in the early noughties and have revolutionised river cruise cabin layout. And we constantly review and renew our agent support and consumer offers to ensure they are relevant and enticing. But at our core, great customer service – offering agents and customers what they want and genuinely caring about our people and business partners – is what makes us successful.
I love the new-look reimagined Travel Weekly and the fact that, even at the grand old age of 50, it feels young and invigorated – a bit like me!
Happy 50th birthday, Travel Weekly, and here’s to the next half-century.
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