For several years a lot has been said about it being the end of travel agents, however just like the year of the mobile in tech it hasn’t really happened, but why? It’s simple, the tremendous knowledge and added value agents can share on niche and package holidays has ensured they’ve remained ever-present on the high street.
Of course the Covid-19 crisis has struck and now all bets are off. With the UK battling to get its high streets buzzing, high street agents are now contending with the lowest recorded footfall, travel brands are driving direct sales, home working agents are taking on the social space and the battle for relevance is really heating up.
The major issue high street agencies must address is to further drive added value to the end customer, engaging them not just in store but after they’ve left too. If agents can push deep-reach interactive content and information to users’ mobiles, then they will create a compelling reason to prefer a travel agent while also increasing sales and market share.
Travel agents are in a unique position, suddenly safety precautions are the biggest concern of an end customer, with the web struggling to provide the correct information amongst a mountain of misinformation, the travel agents can now leverage their position to reassure and drive quality information to drive bookings into 2021.
Given the struggles of brands dealing with the overwhelming influx of refund requests, having an agent to help deal with the process will see the value in using an agent rise even more.
As a firm believer in the travel trade, Covid-19 may provide an opportunity of renaissance for the high street agent, but only if they adapt to shifting needs and priorities of customers.