The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines a travel agent as someone who helps "travelers sort through vast amounts of information to help them make the best possible travel arrangements." While this definition only scratches the surface, it is true that in the digital era, it is increasingly important for agents to find a way to cut through nearly infinite amounts of content to pinpoint the most relevant details for their clients.

The Internet will continue to remain both a competitive threat to agents, as well as a valued source of travel information for them. As consumer sites, online travel agencies, review sites, supplier sites, news sources and even consumer blogs struggle to attract more visitors, they will all continue to post massive amounts of new consumer-direct information.

While online information grows at an exponential rate, Web users are starting to suffer from an information overload and are increasingly turning to their own personal networks for product recommendations. Although personal networks have existed since the early days of the Internet, the past decade has seen the emergence of interactive technologies that have formed the basis of the phenomenon known as social networking.

Get the full story at TravelAge West