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Agents in decline? Don’t bet on it says industry expert

April 5, 2017 Headline News 2 Comments Email Email

As a battle looms between online travel agents and an internet-based accommodation booking giant, an Australian travel industry identity with decades of experience is confident that the future of the industry lies with a third force – namely human travel agents providing personal service backed by the latest in technology.

The internet-based accommodation booking giant is none other than Airbnb, whose new service called Airbnb Trips lets freelance hosts lead excursions in various cities.

The Australian Financial Review ran a story in which Webjet managing director John Guscic dismissed Airbnb’s expansion of its Trips service beyond accommodation as a threat to Webjet’s business.

“Whilst the underlying role of the traditional travel agent is arguably in decline, Webjet’s online business model is bucking that trend,” Guscic told the AFR.

“We do not see Airbnb as a threat, quite the contrary. Any entity that assists in expanding the total travel market is welcome in our world.”

So, is the role of the traditional travel agent “arguably in decline” as Guscic says? TravelManagers, for one, does not believe so, and provides a different perspective on the traditional travel agent vs online retail debate.

TravelManagers’ chairman Barry Mayo points out that so-called experts have been sounding the death knell of the traditional bricks-and-mortar travel agent since the arrival of the internet.

TravelManagers’ chairman Barry Mayo

Mayo is quick to add that his company has the internet to thank for its existence.

“It was the internet, the great enabler of modern connectivity, that created the opportunity for Online Travel Agents to evolve – and ironically, it was also the internet and related technology enhancements that created the opening for TravelManagers and the personal travel manager concept to be born,” he says.

“Travel is one sector that is very much moving forward. TravelManagers choose to embrace rather than fight the digital revolution and by using the internet as an effective business tool the company has grown and prospered exponentially.”

Mayo is confident personal service remains extremely important in a growing technological world.

He says that with more than 510 personal travel managers throughout the country, TravelManagers is the only truly national home-based host agency. The key to its success is personal and consistent service delivery, plus enthusiasm for tailoring travel arrangements to individual client tastes and demands.

“Service is the key in this internet age, with the personal travel manager genuinely looking out for what is in their clients’ best interests,” Mayo adds.

“Providing individual tailor-made experiences and having your own personal travel manager is what sets a personal travel manager apart from many traditional travel agents and sole online providers.”

Mayo says that TravelManagers is “in the enviable position of being the market leader and at the forefront, not only of home-based consulting but of providing essential support services to clients as well.

“TravelManagers is a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year business. Our state-of-the-art technology allowing the ability to access and process every aspect of a client’s booking at any time is critical to deliver on our promise of exceptional client service.

“With our continued advanced technology focus and personal travel manager knowledge and experience, our clients receive the best travel experiences and value for money holidays that is unrivalled in the industry.”

Mayo is proud that TravelManagers’ personal travel managers go the extra mile for clients.

“Our personal travel managers do more than just book flights and accommodation, our commitment is to ensuring clients have the best travel support and experiences.

“We have examples of personal travel managers who personally drive their elderly or longstanding clients to the airport, create pop-up shops at travel clubs and one instance where a client forgot their passport and their personal travel manager collected it from their house and delivered it to them at the airport, and they managed to get on their flight. It’s going above and beyond and delivering exceptional personal service that truly delivers to clients’ needs and ensures clients for life.”

TravelManagers’ home-based personal travel manager model, with its blend of online presence and personal service, is prospering and Mayo says latest results reinforce its position as the future of the travel industry.

“We have just experienced our best every sales month in February to date, and our first quarter sales are also shaping up to be nothing short of exceptional. The results speak for themselves. Personal travel managers are the way of the future, and you can’t argue with that.”

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    There is little difference between Webjet and AirBnB in that neither of them are travel agents. They are booking services. Webjets own campaign that derides travel agents proves this point. So if another method comes along that means the demise of companies like Webjet, then I’d not be shedding any tears. And meanwhile, plain old travel agents who actually speak and listen to people, will continue to quietly get about with their job. I’ve been doing it for 42 years and it’ll see me through to retirement.

  2. Sally Lucas says:

    Definitely agree – I have also been in the industry since 1966 and we have also just had our busiest month in February. I only work part time now but the knowledge stored in a travel agent’s brain is invaluable and I will also continue to work while able.

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