With the advent of DIY holidays disrupting the industry playing field, one question springs to mind: “Is there still a place for the modern-day travel agent?”
At first glance, companies such as Skyscanner, Air BnB and Uber would appear to make travel agencies redundant. It has never been easier to jump online, find a flight, choose accommodation and download the Uber app to get you from A to B. Travel consumers are more empowered than ever before. However, as the old adage goes ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, and some consumers have found that perhaps their concept of an adequate flight connection time wasn’t quite correct, or that the spacious, airy flat they found online was the product of some serious photoshopping, or that they are lacking a 3G signal to catch an Uber in the Amazon. Thus, would-be modern DIY travellers soon recognise that organising a trip, regardless of its complexity, can result in a serious headache.
And this is where it becomes clear that the place of the travel agent is still very much required. The 2017 ABTA Holiday Habits report found that the preferred method of booking a holiday abroad was actually via a travel company or travel agent. Travel agents offer a personal expertise that is appreciated by the modern traveller with the majority of respondents in the ABTA report stating that they felt more confident booking through a travel agent. Additional reasons why travel agents came top were that they offer an easier booking journey and save people time: a welcome prospect for the modern, time-poor traveller.
Nevertheless, a word of caution remains. In the age of consumer technological empowerment, it has never been more pertinent for an agency to remain at the forefront of modern travel agency technology. The travel agent of tomorrow must acquire a strong digital presence to prevail. According to the ABTA report noted above, 83% of people chose to book their holiday online in 2017, rising from 76% in 2016.
Additionally, it has never been more important for travel agents to offer flexibility, with the demand for package holidays on the rise. ABTA noted that over half of holiday goers in 2017 booked a package holiday with the emphasis for the modern package holiday placed on personalisation. Thus dynamic packaging solutions, which enable this desired personalisation, are increasingly important in the modern travel market with a particular focus placed on cruise packages. Recent statistics have shown that cruise holidays are on the rise with Europe boasting nearly seven million ocean cruise passengers in 2017, a 2.5% increase compared to 2016.
Traveltek’s dynamic packaging solutions and cruise booking solutions are second to none and have been recognised as “World Leading” for the last four years. These tools allow travel professionals the ability to use their personal expertise to hand pick every element of a customised itinerary and sell it as one package. Today, no other travel technology provider offers such a vast range of aggregated content on one single platform – ready for the travel agent of tomorrow.