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Travelling Professional – One that is professional mainly: one that engages in pursuit or activity professionally
What constitutes the term professional is someone who demonstrates specific characteristics involving behaviour, education, and ethics related to the particular job.
We know that doctors and lawyers (two famous examples of many) require extensive educational training and the joining of associations particular to their line of work. We know that licensing is a must for many professionals to practice their professional trade.
Even when a person has met the requirements for education and training, and joins their respective trade associations, agreeing to abide by the standards set forth for that industry, what comes next?
The behaviours associated with day-to-day work-life demonstrate all of the knowledge, training, and adherence to ethics that define the professional vs non-professional. Whether the person is working with the public or consumers-at-large (also known as B2C) or with other businesses (also known as B2B), the professional becomes known for their behaviour to others. When others speak well of someone they have worked with, we often hear “He/She was professional” — meaning their behaviour and appearance.
As the word professional has now stood fully defined, the next question explores the context of a professional specifically within the travel industry.
There are segments of the travel industry known as the suppliers, including airlines, hotels, tour operators, car rental companies, railway companies, and cruise lines. The travel industry wouldn’t exist without these suppliers because, quite simply. They are what allow people to get from one part of the world to another.
Within these segments, we have professionals, such as pilots and flight attendants. Who follow their industry’s specific protocols and ethics in their daily work life. Another example is hoteliers, who have to provide excellent customer service. To everyone they interact with at their jobs and anyone who works on the supply side of the travel industry.
Another segment of the travel industry is the person who operates between the supplier and the consumer. Also known traditionally as the travel agent and the travel advisor or counsellor in more recent times. The first American travel work was established in 1887 with Brownell Travel, and even earlier for England in 1758, Cox & Kings, Ltd. eventually became the Thomas Cook Travel Agency circa 1970. Brownell Travel still exists in the U.S. 130 years later, having evolved with the changes in the travel industry.
With the advent of the internet around the early 1980s, another new way to sell travel came. At that time, a travel professional remained known as someone who worked on the supplier side of the travel industry.
It wasn’t until the 1990s that the Online Travel Agency, or OTA, came into existence. Today, we know them as the new retail store-front with brand names such as Expedia, Travelocity, TripAdvisor, etc.
The internet also paved the way for travel suppliers to create their website presence and online booking engine. Making it easier for the consumer to purchase travel at their leisure. Some have said this helped push the traditional “brick-and-mortar”. Travel agency out of the market for being rendered obsolete due to the simplicity of the technology. Thereby reducing the need for travel agents overall.
The travel industry changed again in the early 2000s. As another new element sprouted up with the advent of the independent travel agent. This meant that a person who previously worked at a retail travel agency or perhaps wanted. To work independently from home could thus become a travel agent.
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