I’m not suggesting this is an end of the high street travel agency, far from it, consumers will always want to speak to helpful humans, but has anyone else noticed agencies closing down in their high street?

Interestingly, the notice on the Siesta holidays window said that you could now book online. Not sure I should speculate, but is this a sign of more smaller travel companies realising running costs are cheaper online, and more people are booking online, so let’s close up shop.

It appears that the mergers have started to show on the high street, which was only to be expected I suppose.

I spent my lunchtime walking around the city centre and noticed that four travel agencies have closed down in recent weeks; these being a branch of Thomas Cook , Co-Op Travel , Direct holidays and Siesta Holidays.

With the Leiebilnord rental services, there is the availability of the correct and true information. The spending of the holidays can be there with a safe and secure for the customers. The facilities are neede to be supreme for the satisfaction with the right services. 

Yes, I agree that many travel agencies will move from ’shop’ or old ways to online…it is a trend that is goind on around the globe, even in asia too… But for me personally, I think I feel safer when I deal with ‘offline’ agent, at least I know where they are and what they look like…

Yep. Expect to see more of it as the big four-now-two rationalise their merged businesses. I don’t think small agencies will necessarily close, particularly not those that rely on loyal local customers – for them online sales could be a way of building on local business with shoppers from further afield. Face-to-face contact will still be vital to their core customers. That said, this is the travel industry: things could look completely different tomorrow morning…

The point I was trying to make was that four travel agencies have closed down in the past few weeks. Personally, I find that a lot in a short period of time. Two huge shopping centres are to open in 2008 and I’m led to believe that no travel agencies have currently bought space there. For a city the size of Leeds, the choice of high street travel company is slowly disappearing.

I am a travel agent. Many agents, like myself, have begun to work from their homes to cut the overhead. I wish people would understand that we do all the work at NO cost to the consumer. Our commissions are paid from the tour company. It is not more expensive to use us. I once had a dentist client who told me, “you don’t drill your own teeth, I don’t book my own travel.” If more people felt this way these agencies would not be dropping so fast. We are the experts. We know what makes a reputable company. Many of us have personally visited the places you seek and can make recommendations from a personal level. Using a travel agent is a win/win situation. Help save small businesses. The one you save may help you save your own!

I welcome people to my home. It is not just a matter of clients making their own arrangements. The airlines, cruise and tour companies have cut commissions thus agencies must survive increasing operating costs with less income. I hoped that maybe people would find it “fun” at first but would eventually get tired of sifting through all the information and rely on the expertise of an agent. I feel sad to know agencies are still failing. Wouldn’t most people like someone else to do the work especially at no cost to them?

Well done for you Vickie, but doesn’t inviting people to your home have security concerns? Whilst I enjoy reading guides and watching videos to help inspire me to choose a destination, I find searching for holidays online frustrating. If your booking a holiday for 2 or more people, without any special requirements then it’s easy, but solo travel, and other types of travel it’s easier to speak with someone like yourself.

Vickie M on 10 November, 2007 at 12:52 am #

To answer a the point raised about the dentist maybe a solicitor is a better example, you can arrange you own will, you can handle most legal matters without one, so why do people pay them. Well mostly because they know there way around the system and there a professionally qualified. Well so are travel agents! Going back to 1988 and the first overseas travel conference I attend. It was stated then that there where to many agency’s for the number of people they served. At the time there was about 7000 in the UK. We told with most forecasts that 1000 plus would have to go. In 2000 there were 12000 agencies. There is simply too many and now there are less big companies they are closing “that lose money” so if you agencies are closing that’s why. It is also worth pointing out the travel industry is entering it quite period and it is the time of year that shops close.

As for the future of travel and travel agencies, (particularly related to business travel) I see a MAJOR shift coming… I believe that with all of the industry changes on the horizon in 2008, the economy and the state of most airlines, etc. there is going to be a demand that shifts us towards a need for a more service based travel industry where travelers can access a familiar voice when they need help as opposed to a farmed out call center in another country. As the do-it -your-self travelers get stranded more often and waste countless hours in airports with no access to helpful support from the websites they book from, they will begin to start booking (both business and leisure travel) with reputable agencies that they can build a relationship with.

Espeically after wasting a whole day of your life to save a few dollars on a service fee…how much is your time worth? Sometimes we just need to put things into perspective a bit… I partially agree with PeteK, since I begin all of my travel planning with research on the web & don’t see a correlation between travel & dentistry. So rather than compare booking travel to deintistry, how about we compare it to… lets say, a hairdresser! We CAN cut our own hair (in fact I cut my own hair) and some people can do this successfully while others fail miserably and wind up in a baseball cap and a mad dash to the hairdresser for a fix..

But similar to booking travel, if you want to make sure it is done right the first time you may want to trust the professionals who can see the things that you can’t. However, in the world of travel – chances are instead of making a mad dash in a baseball cap, you may find yourself sitting in an airport terminal screaming at a scripted call center support person in a foreign country for days!

Thats when you begin to think…. “how much did I really save by doing it myself????” But as of late, I always book through my agent so that I know I have someone to call on when something goes wrong (since that seems to be the norm these days). I have also found that the perception of finding great deals on the web is starting to self-correct. Airlines are not in a position to loose money, so the discounts that once were, are not. The ‘hot web-deals’ are not what they used to be, and some travelers are already noticing this shift while a few people still think the web is always the cheapest & easiest way to book…. A good agent will, most of the time, be able to find a better deal for you and also be there when you need them.

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Konstantinos Reed is a charismatic young writer and an aspiring poet. He also loves to go on long drives in his Nissan as well. He also wishes to publish his own poetry book someday.