Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Can Travel Agents Compete Against Online Travel Agent?

Nowadays it is very difficult and tough situation for the travel agent in terms of getting business and how to survive in the industry. There are so many challenges that they need to face it daily either internally or externally. As we know before this normally whenever we think want to go for holidays we will go and visit travel agent to seek their expertise by suggesting to us and advise where to visit, which destination have better promotion in term of the accommodation or air ticket. By doing this we at least have and idea where to visit, what is the interesting place to visit over there and is it the right time to travel.


At this moment travel agencies are being increasingly repressed from the tourism market by a new rival which is internet. Internet has experienced an incredible expansion for a very short period of time, becoming indispensable in almost all spheres of everyday and especially academic life, as well as in tourism. One "click" has become sufficient to take us virtually to any country in the world. Example to give us the insight into numerous offers of touristic destinations, attractions, transport, accommodation, food or other products within the destination.Actually with the current situation we can see the especially in travel industry the internet have taking over all the human element and become more and more redundant. For example when we travel by air, we have self check in and the ability to check in online so that you don't have the inconvenience of having to queue and then talk to a human being. Trains station have pre-booked tickets machines where we can pick up tickets we booked online without heading to a kiosk to collect it. The ticket ballards also take away the need for ticket inspectors on the platforms, and the trains themselves.


High street travel agents look set to become extinct because people more likely to book their holidays online. This should be a wakeup call for travel agents or tour operator. Online travel agents or OTA such as Expedia, Agoda, GTA, Booking.com have gained ground in tour sales and traditional travel agent and tour operators are going to need to improve their ability to compete. What they need to do is both agents and tour operators must add real value to the distribution chain to stay relevant.

It becomes a common practice for travellers to book vacations themselves. Normally those younger generation or Gen Y are more towards online bookings. They will read the review from  about the places that they want to visit even though there are advantages if you book with travel agent but people are still book using internet the accommodation and air tickets. 

Whereby the older generation are more prefer human touch, either face to face over a counter or over a phone. The older generation find the internet intimidating or too confusing, preferring a real person to handle their request or enquiry and make their purchase or booking. There is something reassuring about having a real person help you out, but it's becoming scarcer every passing year. 

As a conclusion even though most of the people nowdays are more towards online booking, there are still wide market of people who want to walk into travel agent office and discuss about the deals with travel agent staff who can talk them though hotels, resort and flights and give suggestion based on what you have discussed. You don't get this kind of service from online  booking system which it was built for speed and finding deals rather than interaction and making the booking of your holiday a fun and interesting experience in itself.
For next generations at least the travel agent will be needed to be the intermediate face of business. It will be sad day when the internet fully takes over and the travel agency is no longer required



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