Topic Author
Posts: 831
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 1999 4:01 am

The Fate Of Travel Agent

Tue Aug 15, 2000 3:16 am

Dear friends:

What do you think about the future of travel agents? It seems that they are slowly being squeezed out of the industry. In recent years, they have suffered some severe blows: First, their commissions were cut from 10% to 8%. Then, came the age of the electonic ticket, which meant no need to acquire a paper ticket. The internet soon became the biggest enemy of the travel agent, with very user friendly websites, cyber savers, and special internet fairs that also offer frequent flier bonuses. There was also the commission cap ($50.00 on a domestic ticket and $100.00 for international.) OUCH! What's next? Will there be travel agents in 10 years? I don't think so. Are they needed? ... not if you have a PC and a credit card.

So, is this a good thing or a bad thing? For me personally, its good. I much prefer doing my travel arrangments myself, surfing the web for fares and making my own phone calls. Its more fun and actually easier. If you have ever looked at the software travel agents use; whether it be Sabre, or WorldSpan, its so difficult and tedious to use; Travelocity and United connection are so much more user friendly.

What do you think? Do we need travel agents? Are E-tickets and web based travel better than the days of old? Your thoughts ...

Posts: 2575
Joined: Sat May 27, 2000 4:16 am

RE: The Fate Of Travel Agent

Tue Aug 15, 2000 3:29 am

I agree; things look pretty grim for the garden variety travel agency.

I suspect that we will continue to see travel agencies in niche markets, such as adventure travel, eco tourism, specialty group travel and highly discounted travel clearing houses.

Posts: 1182
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 1:58 am

RE: The Fate Of Travel Agent

Wed Aug 16, 2000 1:04 am

I book corporate travel for an engineering firm w/ a $5 miilion travel budget...That couldnt be done with internet based booking engines that are slow and geared for the public usage...
that 'antiquated" software we use can get your ass in an airline seat and you head in a bed so fast it would amaze aint flying around 80 per cent full because people are surfin' around on different websites spending 15-20 mintes to get the bookings made..its because travel agencies around the country are processing travel requests at lightning..
speed..sometimes 25 transactions per hour..the airlines are not equippied to take up the slack at this must be noted that still 60-70 per cent of all passengers booked are thought travel agents....

just my thoughts...i think the internet provides a great option for 'do-it-yourselfers' but the bulk of travel is still flowing thru agencies...agencies may themselves use the 'net, but nothing at this time can replaced the command/format based CRS reservations systems for speed

RE: The Fate Of Travel Agent

Wed Aug 16, 2000 2:30 am

I agree.... My dad works for K-Mart Corp in the Troy offices. They book all of their travel through a travel agency, wether its total travel management, or american express travel services. And they fly alot, to HKG and TPE to LHR and GIG and farther.
Posts: 1496
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 1999 10:52 am

RE: The Fate Of Travel Agent

Wed Aug 16, 2000 6:45 am

I don't like the commission structure for agents, personally I think they should be sold tickets at a wholesale cost and pick their own markup. No, they probably wouldn't like that, but that would put an end to the problem of agents being dependant on what the airlines would be willing to give, would end the way agents sell airline XYZ because of a higher commission structure, and would give competition between agents as well as airlines.

Travel agents will reduce in importance to customers, and low distribution costs of internet bookings are huge advantages for airlines, but although importance of agents won't be as significant, they will exist parallel to other distribution channels.