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Travel subscription services no threat to traditional travel agents

I’ve been getting emails of late calling for me to join travel subscription services or travel clubs, under the guise of saving me money (after shelling out an annual subscription fee, of course). 


While currently only available in the US, TripAdvisor Plus is one such service offering reduced hotel and activity bookings. 



Those of us in lockdown are literally sitting ducks for all those sweet, sweet travel lures being thrown our way, but do savings always equal value? No chance, says this travel agent. 


“I kind of look it like those unsolicited calls from so-called energy providers or telcos you get just when you’re sitting down to dinner,” Melbourne travel agent Lulu told Traveltalk. 


“They promise every thing, but I need to know they can deliver when there are service disruptions or my internet goes out.”


TravelManagers chair Barry Mayo told Traveltalk that agents provide a service unmatched by such services.


”While there may be travel booking platforms alleging added value to attract the consumer who traditionally books direct with a hotel or attraction, we do not see these operators as a major threat to our personal travel managers (PTMs),” he said. 


“The reality is that a PTM does not emulate a travel booking platform. Our PTMs seek to add value through the entire travel transaction from initially qualifying the desires and preferences of their individual clients through to delivering them a choice of experiences that align with each client’s briefing and is sensitive to their budget.”


The objective, said Mayo, is to offer “the best value experience-enhancing suggestions that their client may not always have contemplated”.


“Generally speaking a PTM is not just looking at individual hotel and day touring packages but tailor-making an entire custom-made travel experience for a particular person or purpose which the B2C travel booking platforms do not deliver.”


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