Consolidation expected after Covid-19 agency business slump

This is a 29.5.20 PIE News article for which I was interviewed. Below are my answers in their entirety.

  1. What role will agents play in the recovery from Covid-19?

Obviously, because international travel will be limited for quite some time, institutions that partner with education agents will have to rely on them now more than ever as a key means of reaching out to potentially interested parents and students. Colleagues should take this opportunity to reevaluate what is ideally a select group of agents based not just on “performance,” but on the quality of the relationship, including the trust factor and responsiveness. While nothing can take the place of face-to-face interaction, there is an abundance of online opportunities, including digital events organized by educational consulting companies, to promote their institutions. (Choose carefully.) That is likely to be the prevailing modus operandi into 2021.

  1. What are the main causes of concern for agents across the world at the moment, and are agencies – like institutions/ language providers – at risk of closing due to financial difficulties?

My guess is that quite a few traditional agents whose primary revenue source is commissions will not survive the long business drought that will extend to fall 2021, in many cases. Those companies with deeper pockets and a more diversified business model should be fine.

  1. Are agencies that focus on specific study destinations more at risk than others. E.g are some countries – UK/ US – missing that clarity surrounding when universities will be teaching face-to-face again that countries like Australia/ Canada have revealed in their re-opening strategies?

Yes, of course. If you’re a traditional agent that has put too many of your financial eggs in the basket of a major host country that failed to contain COVID-19, you’re definitely at risk. Australia and New Zealand have a clear advantage over the UK and the US, in this respect.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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