The organizer of the first Travel Agent Awareness Week this past fall is organizing a Travel Agent Awareness day to be held Feb. 1.
Leila Coe, organizer of the first campaign, is also behind the new initiative which will take a different approach from the last effort.
Coe, an independent contractor with World Class Travel in Gainesville, Fla., said the new campaign will be an effort for travel agents to seek out someoneto interview them—whether that’s a client, a friend or local or national media.
“We are hoping to appear on other people's blogs/social media as well as on our own. Time to spread the word a bit more,” said Coe.
The first Travel Agent Awareness Week, held from Nov. 1 to 7, was a “grass roots” campaign focused on a Facebook group Coe founded.
She enlisted agents and asked them to spread the word to others. All of the participating agents were asked to post on a different topic each day, including why they became agents, what they typically book, why use an agent, and the future of travel.
“The goal is to get the majority of those in the group to participate but it is up to each agent how they want to participate,” said Coe. An agent suggested to Coe the idea of having agents interviewed. “I thought it was a good idea. Something different than what we did before,” she added.
Coe said about 500 agents took part in the November campaign. “The majority of them participated in some ways - whether it was just one post on Twitter or Facebook or, many did the daily topic postings,” she said.
“Considering that I started the campaign a month prior, it has grown rapidly. We now have 800 members and counting,” she added.
Coe’s reasons for launching the initiative remain.
“I started the campaign as I was tired of reading articles about how we don't exist or explaining to people I meet that yes, I am a travel agent as most are so surprised that we still exist in today's world,” she said.
“I still think most don't understand why because you can do everything on the internet. So I wanted to change that perception and I can't do that alone so started the Facebook group which has grown fast,” she added. “I think most other agents have these same issues and it is time for us to do something about it instead of whining to each other.
“I just want to share with the public why we are here and why we do what we do; that we are not a computer but use real human intellect, emotion and common sense when putting together our clients trips. And that we care about our clients in ways that Orbitz never can.”
Coe plans to make the 2016 campaign a quarterly event consisting of February, May and August events plus theweek-long November campaign.
May's theme will be memes but the details have yet to be worked out for that or for August. Next November will once again be a week-long event featuring daily topics for agents to post about on Facebook, their own blogs or other social media platforms.
Coe also pointed out that Jacob Marek, founder of 45 Degrees Marketing and a member of the Facebook group, has put together a free press release template for any agent to use. They only have to edit the release, available here, with their own information.