I was interested to read Jonathan Harwood’s reference to former Lunn Poly boss and now chief executive of specialist holiday services company Travelzest Chris Mottershead’s comments regarding the decline of travel agencies (MW last week).
The move to direct sales has been an inevitable trend within the industry and with the boom in online bookings, you could argue that the decline of the high street retailer is a fait accompli. Certainly, we have helped a number of clients increase their direct sales primarily through low-cost tactical marketing and a more effective use of online sales channels, all based around the mantra that you should sell your customers to your customers.
However, let’s wait and see how the high street travel agencies are going to rise to the challenge. If travel agents are going to maintain a credible presence, they are going to have to have a USP [unique selling-point] and become almost portals of inspiration that offer the kind of experience and package that the internet cannot match.
It is essential that marketers respond to these challenges and look at creating “clearwater” between the high street and direct sales in order to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse customer demographic rather than ringing the death knell of the travel agent.
Research and development executive