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This prompted several leading figures from the travel industry to question whether this was just a UK trend or happening worldwide?

Here’s what some of them had to say:


Eugene Ko, Marketing Director at Phocuswright.

“Booking travel has become increasingly complex. This is not even so much to do with the ‘pandemic effect’ anymore – there’s a colossal amount of information and inspiration available online, through countless different sources.

“Although most people do enjoy an element of research and choice when booking travel, using a travel agent can eliminate the need for extensive online trawling, as the agent can handle all the details and bookings on behalf of the customer.

“This convenience saves time and effort, especially for complex itineraries or group travel.”


Gareth Matthews, Chief Marketing Officer at Didatravel.

“Gone are the days when travel agents booked flights and hotels via a green screen.

“Distribution companies and intermediaries have long since evolved to offer far more advanced retailing technology, giving ​agents the ability to find highly personalised deals for their customers.

“Travellers are starting to learn this all over again, returning to the experience and advantages of booking travel in a physical store.

“Artificial intelligence and automation, while often heralded as a threat to travel agents, also offers huge potential, ensuring agents have better information at their fingertips which in turn will free up more of their time to offer a more personalised service.”


Evren Oktay, Founder & COO from pax2night.

“Travel agents often have access to exclusive deals and offers that may not be available online and this isn’t likely to change any time soon. They have established relationships with travel suppliers and can negotiate better prices or perks for their clients.

“Suppliers should take note that while direct bookings can return a higher profit per booking, the relationships agents have with their travellers – and the reach high street stores have – is likely to mean more sales.”


Craig Everett, Founder and CEO from Holibob.

“Agents have upped their game a lot overall to remain competitive and one very successful strategy has been to start cross-selling or including in packages all the little in-destination extras such as activities, tours and theme park tickets.

“But not only do you need to offer this, you need to have an intuitive and integrated booking flow that agents can easily use along with automated post-sale technology in place.”


Sami Doyle from TMU Management. 

“The near two years of chaos that COVID unleashed on travel plans for people was a bit of a wake-up call for anyone who’d booked direct or even through an online travel agency – suddenly discovering that customer service was non-existent, cancellations and refunds were hard if not impossible, and in some cases, bankruptcies were leading to people not getting what they’d paid for.

“By contrast, the trust factor with high-street retailers or anyone where you’re dealing with an individual, even if remotely, is so much higher. That’s also in part because of the perception of security, that you’d have someone to complain to or ask for a refund.

“Nonetheless, if you’re one of those agents or agency chains you’d better make sure that you really do have in place the right travel trade insurance and packaging protections – because if you don’t and word gets around, even just a few isolated cases of problems could undermine your best asset, your reputation.”