Travel Agents

“Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated” Travellers Choice MD on agents

Ali Coulton

With the rise in popularity of OTAs, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom surrounding speculation about the future of brick and mortar travel agents.

But according to a survey carried out by Travellers Choice, the future is looking bright for travel agents!

A whopping 36 per cent of agents surveyed said they anticipated adding on another staff member or even opening an additional location in the next year.

The figure rose to 44 per cent when the time frame was shifted to between four and seven years.

We sat down with the Travellers Choice managing director, Christian Hunter to find out what he made of the findings.

“These bullish results are a major vote of confidence in Travellers Choice and its ability to drive business through its members’ doors,” Hunter said.

“The fact that our members’ are comfortable planning so far ahead also reflects the kind of stability our group offers.”

“That stability I believe is only possible with a group owned entirely by its members – rather than faceless shareholders or wealthy individuals – who alone control its strategy and share in its profits”

Hunter said the results say a lot about the perceived rivalry between traditional retail agents and OTAs.

“I think they reinforce the message that traditional retail travel agents have been repeating for more than 20 years, namely, that reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated.”

“The fact is that traditional travel retailers and OTAs have successfully operated alongside each other – independently and in partnerships – for more than two decades, and I see no reason why that would change.”

The survey also revealed that 99 per cent of respondents are ‘satisfied’ or ‘more than satisfied’ with their membership of the national network.

Hunter rules this overwhelming response up to the corporate office helping support its member’s to capitalise on growth opportunities.

How are they managing to do this?

“By developing and delivering tools – particularly in areas such as digital marketing – that enable our members to effectively engage with new and existing customers. And by providing them with the sort of unique products and services that their customers want and need.”

“These results provide us with a better understanding our members, who are of course our customers.”

“The more we understand their plans for the future, the more effectively we can tailor our products and services to reflect what they want, rather what we think they might want.”



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