Travel Agents 'still Have A Role'

Travel agents can win back customers from the internet by offering a tailored and personal service, an industry expert has said.

Recent figures show that holidaymakers are increasingly researching and booking their trips online, but Joanna Earney from Howard Travel insisted that the travel agent still has a place in the industry.

She explained that internet sites would never be able to provide the detailed knowledge that a good travel agent could and that customers appreciated it when they built up a personal relationship with sales people.

"For the majority of our clients, they do ring us up or come in and they know what they want and they want suggestions from us. It is our knowledge that produces that," Ms Earney added.

"Even for [new clients] you ask them questions, ask them where they have travelled before, where they have been, if they have cruised before - very often I personally have persuaded people to go on cruises who have never fancied it."

Ms Earney concluded by pointing out that independent travel agents were more flexible than the larger chains as they are not "conditioned into selling certain operators".

However, figures from Logan Tod show that just 22 per cent of holidaymakers trust the advice they receive from travel agents.

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