Pundits have been predicting the demise of the traditional travel agency since the dawn of the web-based travel industry and low cost, no frills airlines in the 1990s.
However, rumors of its death appear to have been, to paraphrase Mark Twain, greatly exaggerated. After going through a difficult period in the early to mid 2000s, travel agencies in the UK are now very much in the ascendant. A spokesperson for DialAFlight said, “A few years ago, everyone was predicting that the days of the traditional travel agent were numbered. More and more people seemed to be booking their own holidays over the Internet, in order to cut out the middleman and save some money.”
“However, it seems that a lot of people are starting to appreciate the value of using a middleman when booking a holiday. Booking your own holiday over the Internet might save you a little bit of money, but it is a lot more hassle than just calling up a travel agent and having them sort it all out for you. The Internet is great for booking simple point to point journeys by air, such as London to Madrid, and the success of no-frills airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair is proof of this. However, the best prices for long-haul flights are rarely to be found on the Internet.”
“Also, the public seems to be becoming increasingly aware that low frills does not always equal low cost. When the budget airlines started off, they caught the traditional scheduled airlines on the back foot with seemingly incredible deals.”
“In recent years, though, the scheduled airlines have caught up, to the extent that they are often cheaper than the budget airlines once you add on all the extras, such as tax and booking fees.”
“Another reason why an increasing number of people are turning their backs on budget airlines is that, on the whole, the level of customer service is extremely poor, particularly when something goes wrong, and it seems that more and more people are willing to pay a little extra for a higher level of customer service.”