Travel agencies splash out £347m on technology in 2012

Travel agencies splash out £347m on technology in 2012

Travel agents’ reliance on technology is reflected in the amount the sector spends on IT each year – consistently more than double the amount spent by tour operators.

However, tour operators appear to be catching up on spending, according to a report by Travel Weekly sister title Travolution, published this week.

Analysis of government figures and business IT-spending surveys suggests the only travel sector to spend more on technology last year than agents (£347 million) was air passenger transport (£352 million).

Overall, investment in travel technology is forecast to rise by 7% this year following a 5% annual increase in 2012.

Last year’s figure equates to a more modest 2% rise when inflation is taken into account, but came after three years of relative decline: travel IT spending was flat year on year in 2011, having fallen by 5% in both 2010 and 2009.

If the forecast for this year proves correct, industry spending on IT will increase to £1.15 billion from £1.07 billion last year. Last year’s Travolution Innovation Report forecast annual growth for 2012 would be 1% higher than it turned out.

UK tour operators increased IT spending by 11% last year and are forecast to spend 12% more this year. The tour operator sector also topped the list of average spend on IT per employee in 2012, at £5,710 per member of staff.

Travel agents spent £5,236 per employee. However, agents spent almost three times as much as tour operators in total. Hotels spent by far the least on IT per employee – just £713.


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