Internova Travel Group CEO Says Post-Pandemic Environment Offers New Opportunities for Travel Advisors
J.D. O’Hara speaks to representatives of luxury brands at ILTM Cannes
NEW YORK (December 8, 2022) – In the post-pandemic world, the role of the travel advisor is more important than ever, Internova Travel Group Chief Executive Office J.D. O’Hara told an audience at ILTM Cannes, the flagship travel industry event of ILTM Collection.
We know that many people prefer a personal touch when planning their travel
-J.D. O’Hara, Chief Executive Office
Speaking to representatives of the world’s most prestigious luxury travel brands, O’Hara also revealed the top destinations booked by Internova’s luxury travel advisors for the coming year and discussed the company’s plans for 2023.
“We know that many people prefer a personal touch when planning their travel,” O’Hara said. “We conducted our own survey last year that showed 79 percent of Americans would rather work with a human being over an online travel agency.”
By working with a human being, consumers say they have access to information that can’t be found online, they can get recommendations on where to go, where to stay and what to do, and they can request upgrades or amenities for their trip.
With more than 100,000 travel advisors worldwide, Internova is the largest cruise, vacation and luxury travel seller in North America and the United Kingdom. O’Hara said travel advisors not only provide value to consumers by saving them time and money, but they’re vital for the health of the travel and tourism industry.
Consumers who use a travel advisor take leisure trips more frequently and for longer periods of time, spend more on average per night and have a larger overall travel budget. Travel advisors are influencers, using their expertise to plan a trip that’s the right fit for each client, even if the client comes to them with a destination in mind.
Looking ahead to 2023, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Israel are the top destinations booked by travel advisors with Global Travel Collection (GTC), Internova’s luxury leisure and premium corporate division. Japan, Greece, Spain, the Bahamas and South Africa round out the top 10.
“We’re seeing more interest in travel to Europe in general, due to the favorable currency rate,” O’Hara said. “Interest in travel to Mexico is seeing a big shift as the demand for luxury, all-inclusive vacations increases.”
When it comes to cruises, the top destinations for GTC clients in 2023 are Canada, Italy, Greece, Norway and France, followed by Spain, the Netherlands, Malta, Japan and Singapore.
Luxury cruising was one of the first cruise segments to rebound post-pandemic, and O’Hara sees strong momentum going into next year. “Luxury travelers want a higher level of service, elevated cuisine and a more sophisticated cruise experience — and are willing to invest in the experience,” he said. Cruise lines are continuing to refine their voyages, from dining choices to pre- and post-cruise travel to immersive itineraries.
Travel advisors are the heart of Internova’s business, and in 2023 the company will continue to ramp up its investment in them, providing opportunities for marketing and communications, as well as new and innovative tools designed to give them a competitive edge.
When it comes to luxury travel, Internova will take steps to reimagine that category in 2023, including enhancing Internova SELECT Hotels & Resorts, a competitive, value-added amenity program made up of more than 1,600 of the world’s most distinguished premium properties.
The company will also strengthen its commitment to Global Travel Collection. As part of that effort, Internova will launch a quarterly magazine, Oltre, which will be distributed to clients of GTC’s 1,500 luxury travel advisors.
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About Internova Travel Group
Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 100,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.