Select Traveler

JUL-AUG 2017

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6 J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 R ecently, I glanced at an article on the popular travel commentary website SKIFT titled "Strong U.S. Dollar Means Little to Outbound Tourists." SKIFT is a relatively new travel industry think tank whose observa- tions can be followed online at no charge at Its staff do extensive research on topics of interest to the industry and publish ar- ticles and entire reports for those who want more detail. They also host forums that pro- duce top-level content on industry issues. I sent a link to this article to a few colleagues with a note saying that we already knew this about international travelers. In fact, we had already published the finding. The same observation, with much less detail, appeared in this column in our March/April issue. That's because at our buyer breakout session at the Select Traveler Conference held last February, many of you gave us a heads-up on this. You said your international travel- ers are not making decisions based on exchange rates or the strength of the dollar. You said they're traveling overseas based on their preference for traveling in smaller groups and enjoying a high level of service. My point is that we have access to some of the most practical, wheels-on-the-ground travel knowledge available due to our communication with all of you. Select Traveler plan- ners are on the front line of figuring out what travelers want and what they are willing to pay. As such, you know things before many of the rest of us. Such knowledge of travel preferences develops over years in the trenches and al- lows you to know what many of the rest of us must figure out — including the research- ers at SKIFT. If those folks ever want to assemble a focus group to examine issues and trends in the group travel industry, they should start with a few of our Select Traveler readers and delegates. Have a great summer. Email me anytime with your thoughts at perspective P U B L I S H E R ' S Mac Lacy

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