by Bethan Norris, Senior Editor of Study Travel Magazine
Welcome to our bumper September issue which at 116 pages is our biggest issue yet! I hope you get a chance to read all our interesting and insightful news stories and articles and remember to pack it in your hand luggage as you attend some of the many agent workshops and events being held this month. Make sure you check out this issue's Special Report on takeovers and mergers in the study travel industry a must-read feature full of information on latest trends in the industry (page 58).
While our Special Report focuses on some of the biggest players in the industry, our Industry Issues column this month provides a useful reminder of the origins of our industry as agents reminisce on how they got started in their business. One agent remembers her mother first setting up the agency business when she was a child and being sent on all sorts of experiences overseas as part of the trial of products! When we are often reading news stories about the big profits to be made by venture capitalists and large chain schools in the industry it is interesting to remember that language travel has its roots in a cottage industry when many schools and agencies were set up on a tiny scale by people who are still around today. As well as reminding us how far the industry has come, it also serves as a reminder that then as now, success is often dependent on the good service skills of individuals within a company and this hasn't changed much in the last 60 or so years.
The relationship between agents and schools has been a key factor in the development of the language travel industry over the years and it is good news to see this relationship developing with education providers in different sectors of the study travel market. We have been following the recent developments regarding the use of agents by universities in the USA with great interest and our article on this topic reveals an important sea change of attitude in this area. While official policy regarding the issue has not significantly changed, interviews with individual universities reveal a much more realistic attitude to agents than has been noted previously (page 32). Positive endorsements on behalf of universities regarding their own experiences with agents will surely pave the way for a wider acceptance of this recruitment practice in the future.
Finally, if you are attending any workshops overseas this month, I wish you good luck in all your business meetings. The Study Travel Magazine editorial team will meet many of you at various events in the UK and beyond this month, so make sure you look out for our stand and come over to say hello! And for those who aren't attending, don't forget to follow us on Twitter@Hothouse_Media to find out the latest news unveiled at these events.