Online ‘Booking Stress’ may fuel a travel agent resurgence
Take heed global travel suppliers hurrying to drive customers to online portals, and aspiring to cut out the middle man. Presumably the percentage experiencing ‘booking stress’ will only grow, as more suppliers opt for the direct sales model and push their online offerings.
Booking stress could have a key role in re-establishing the traditional high street travel retailer as a preferred booking method, rather than online direct?
Across Europe companies are investing massive amounts in online marketing, hoping to capture some of the estimated £31.2 billion spent in Europe purchasing travel online this year (PhoCusWright). But perhaps the stress element could cause the pendulum to swing back in favour of traditional travel agencies, rendering increasingly cluttered and stressful online sales channels redundant.
According to the Association of British Travel Agents, the number of high street agents has fallen by nearly a fifth since 1997, giving rise to OTA super powers such as Expedia and lastminute.com. However traditional agencies like STA Travel who have established themselves online while retaining their high street outlets, look to be the major benefactors of booking stress.
Perhaps surprisingly, the market experiencing the most stress with booking online according to SideStep, is the under 25 years age group where 70% of respondents feel overwhelmed. No matter how simple the major online players make their booking process, the number of actual offers online will continue to climb.
Agency outlet numbers may be slowly falling, but the niche knowledge and stress free environments that they provide could be about to power a travel agency renaissance.
Hear discussion by SideStep, STA Travel, lastminute.com and Expedia at Sales&Marketing in Travel Europe 2007 www.eyefortravel.com/smeurope2007 October 23rd - 24th, Berlin.
Hear discussion by SideStep, STA Travel, lastminute.com and Expedia at Sales & Marketing in Travel Europe 2007 www.eyefortravel.com/smeurope2007 October 23rd - 24th, Berlin.