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President Moyer: Can We Learn Anything from the Travel Industry?

September 6, 2019 in Guest Columns

The 2019 UMKC REALTOR® Leadership Academy class meet at UMKC
for their first session earlier this week. KCRAR partnered with the UMKC Henry
W. Bloch School of Management to offer this exclusive, seven-month program.
Through classroom activity, participants explore critical individual and
organizational leadership topics through three core-themes: Industry Context,
Regional Leadership and Practice Management.

I sat in for the morning sessions. Nate Johnson, the 2018
Missouri REALTORS® President shared his perspective of where the industry has
been and where we might be headed. Nate provided some interesting statistics. In
1980 there were 200,000 travel agents in the United States. The internet became
available to the public in 1991. By 2014, the number of travel agents had
dropped to 74,100.

Many people speculate and invest billions of dollars to
leverage technology in an effort to disrupt our industry. Should we be worried?
Rather than worry, I’d focus my attention on another number. By 2016 the number
of travel agents increased to 81,700.

A similar trend happened during that same time in the
finance industry. In 2006, there were also 200,000 financial advisors in the
United States. That was 25,000 fewer than previous years. But during the same
time that the travel industry was seeing an increase in travel advisors, the
number of certified financial advisors increased by 25,000.

Why the increases?

The travel industry understood that today’s
travelers want a unique and unforgettable travel experience.
They want maximum efficiency, agility, end-to-end experiences based on
real-time data and hyper-personalized services. The financial industry realized
their clients want someone who understands their situation, respects their
assets regardless of size, can solve problems and stay in touch. Interestingly,
certified financial planners, similar to REALTORS®, follow a code of ethics.

Technology will continue to change the
way consumers shop. Our advantage is that there is a difference between
information and knowledge. A home sale or purchase is an infrequent,
complicated activity where the cost of mistakes can be devastating. The
internet provides information — a simple collection of data and photos. REALTORS®,
just like travel agents and financial planners, can offer knowledge. If we work
to enhance our knowledge, achieve certifications, and provide concierge level services,
we can remain relevant.

REALTORS® have numerous resources
available to increase our knowledge and value proposition. Consider
participation in next year’s Leadership Academy, complete your C2EX (Commitment
to Excellence program), achieve a designation, volunteer in your community,
work to provide maximum efficiency, agility, end-to-end experiences based on
real-time data and hyper-personalized services. Show your clients you
understand their situation, respect their property regardless of size, solve
problems and stay in touch. In short, provide a level of concierge service that
demonstrates your value over the basic facts and information on the internet.

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