Is there something about travel retailing that makes it immune from the challenges other sectors are facing on the high street?
It’s hard to avoid that conclusion when you read reports from the likes of the Hays Travel IG Conference and hear how many agents are flourishing.
Hays Travel and its consortium isn’t alone in telling us the high street remains a profitable place to do business. So what’s going on? Are we just guilty of paying too much attention to the successes while ignoring the failures? I’m not so sure.
Hays IG member Admiral Travel tells us a number of factors are working in its favour: online price parity from most suppliers, company failures driving online customers to agents, and expert staff.
All of which means agents are able to provide the full service of a traditional travel agent, offering advice, variety, peace of mind, personal service and competitive pricing.
With the big two’s shops increasingly selling only their own holiday brands, the local travel agency with an established and trusted presence is the best place to go to for independent advice.
Hays Travel says it is also seeing good growth from its homeworker members like Designer Travel and Not Just Travel, which again suggests personal service is valued.
There’s no doubt the high street is changing and unfortunately sectors are suffering, as recent figures have shown.
Let’s hope these trends are temporary. It would be a great shame if thriving travel agencies start to suffer because the high streets on which they are located decline.
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