I was wondering how important you consider communication to between travellers and travel agents when purchasing a trip as research shows travellers are happy to buy without 'human communication' (speaking face to face or over the phone).
What are your thoughts? Do you still think it's important - would you be happy to exchange details just online? Do you think it's a generation thing (both consumer and trade side) - is time to bring booking travel into the generation Z way of life?
Im probably a bit old fashioned but I prefer face to face contact.
I will go to a few travel agents when thinking about a holiday and compare prices.
The internet can give you a good picture of a holiday destination and show videos etc. But Id trust a travel agent on the high street more than a travel agent on the internet.
Och Aye the Noo and Irn BruTouring Scotland is for you
I use the internet to find cheap prices then go to the local travel agents to ask them to price match,they mostly can. When we lost a holiday because of the Ash cloud, the money was back in my bank in 48 hours( well done Co-op Travel)
If every one uses the internet to shop, the only thing you will have left in your local town will be Hair Dressers, you cant buy a hair cut on the Internet that I know of.
Sorry oldtimer, but I had to make a point after reading your comment.
If people continue to use travel agencies as a 'price matching' service there wont be many left on the high street in a few years! Customers used to be loyal and use us as we provided a service, although often we were not the cheapest.
Its a shame these times seem to have passed.......
Well there is a mix on this. People are happy to buy simple things over the net, 2 weeks med is fine. A multicenter trip no.
As to price matching we do it very little, mostly when customers come to us from the net they have not found the best value trip and we are able to offer a better option.
I get frustrated with customers that come in to our store wanting the internet matched. Almost insulting, i wouldnt expect to find anything on the internet and then just go to a branch/shop and want them to match it. If customers want the low prices they find on the internet there has to be a bit of a sacrifice on their part and that would be that they lose the luxury of a travel consulant to help them with any issues. They cant have the best of both worlds we dont come for free.
Surely the best way forward would be to offer a product that the internet cannot!, Personally we work the other way round..if clients found my deals on the web! they Cannot pop into a bricks and mortar, High Street Travel Agency and ask for a Price Match!! 1t does not exsist!! LOL
Personally I think people prefer to use the internet to book because they can book whenever they want to, they are not restricted to branch opening times.
The real problem in my opinion is they are happy to book on the internet and not think about travel agents but the second anything goes wrong such as the ash cloud last year or the political riots in Egypt and Tunisia the first person they turn to is not the media source they used to book the holiday but the travel agent who was not worth the time or hassle to consult initially. If the industry took the stance that any a customer had to deal only with their chosen buy source then I think more people would go back to booking with agents.
I personally will always see if my local agent if I left the industry as I know that im guaranteed having somebody to talk face to face with a not somebody sat at the other end of the phone or computer that couldnt care less.
I agree with you here. Although it's become pretty common to have customers looking for the deals they get on the net with the quality and comfort that comes from a live consultant. It's just the way things are marketed nowadays.
Fletcher is a best practices activist and advocate for email marketing solutions and email marketing services.
There is a rising demand for travel agents and the value, experience and peace of mind that comes with their service. As jorda525 said, agencies are the first person the traveller will turn to when something goes wrong!
The internet is such a dominating factor in the day to day lives of millions and this has made a lot of us quite lazy - there is an abundance of information online, and, in my experience, many travel agents are extremely reluctant to make the most what the web can offer them. There seems to be a perception where it's service (through a high-street store, face to face etc) or a low cost (online) but it's not as black & white as this - there can be both!
Stardust1 - I agree with you that it is borderline insulting being asked to price match against large online travel agencies. I do believe that the perception of agencies can be changed, so that travellers are reminded of the value and service that their internet giants are likely to lack, but what smaller, mid, homebased travel agencies thrive on. Do you think this is an education process? Or that it may be swings and roundabouts where low prices are not the end all & be all?!
I agree Linzi that it may be a learning curve. I give all my customers they same level of high service, very often i go through the process of finding them excatly what they want, for them to ask "is that the same price as your website?" To this there is no easy response, very often yes it is. If i say no they will go check it, see it is and then book it directly on there. Or i just check the internet and end up matching the internet price. So all the work, the best service I can provide and we still give away almost all our profit. I just find it a bit frustrating that our service is often not appreicated. But i do think that the travel industry will find a happy balance for a few years but eventually the internet will take over the bucket and spade holidays to the med and agents will only exist for speciallist holidays.
You are right Linzi it is a learning process that we have to adapt to. I just find it very frustrating when I provide everyone of my customer with the highest level of service finding the what they want. In most instances the customer will then ask "is that cheaper/same price on your website?" To this there is no easy response, as it very often is cheaper. So i could say no we are cheaper, only for them to go home check and then either book it direct on the internet or come back and book it so the internet price anyway......or i check the internet whilst they are in store and then ened up matching it anyway. Very often a no win situation. I can see it is a swings and roundabout sitaution but i think over the next couple of years the high street agent and the internet will find a happy medium but eventally the bucket and spade holiday will end up being booked on the internet and specialist high street agents will be what is left over, for the holidays that are tailormade.
Absolutely, I do agree with you entirely, that Travel Agents, should Offer something outside what is available on-line.. That Personal Service you pride yourself upon. A tailor made Holiday that will prove satisfying to the client, and engage you, in offering an Unique Product , that once delivered your client will return time after time!
Yes I agree with "Willself"......:-)
Toronto Furnished Apartments
Anyone who comes in and asking me to match the net I find it quiet insulting Im sick of everyone using us to get the internet price if your not confident to book on net dont expect us to match it for that reason!
I left the retail business 8 years ago and since then have never booked with a travel agent. I left as I was frustrated at having to train staff to only perform a narrow function (sell a limited range, offer limited advice). I mystery shopped many agencies and was appalled at the lack of knowledge, indeed the desire to acquire knowledge, that existed. Agency chains are reaping through the internet the seeds that they sowed when they stopped investing in the quality and quantity of their staff.
Yes bonding and protection is a plus point, however don't assume that it will remain as strong forever as it is today.