WTM Vision: High street agents can survive - Tui boss
Travel agents will still be on the high street in five years time, said the boss of Tui in the UK at today’s WTM Vision Conference.
On a panel debate about the outbound industry Burling said he believed high street travel agents would remain relevant in the value chain, despite the growing prominence of online booking.
“Travel agents have evolved and will keep evolving. If bookings can be transacted across different channels then that is chance. The quality advice that travel agents can give is still very relevant,” he said.
Burling said Tui would move towards offering its customers more ways to move between channels and to make changes or get information in a number of different ways.
In five years time he said he expected to see travel agents embracing technology in a number of different ways and to be innovating with more inspirational retail environments.
“Looking at travel agents in five years technology will become available to book across channels. The strength of retail will be around product knowledge and service. Stores will be offering more inspiration – like Apple’s opening of retail stores. This shows there is a role in retail for inspiration and good retailers will adapt and survive,” he said.
Meanwhile, Andy Washington, Expedia’s managing director UK & Ireland, who said the biggest threat to the high street was mobile.