Travel Agents - UK - December 2013
“As the advent of concept stores shifts the role of stores towards offering an inviting experience rather than just facilitating transactions, travel agents need to avoid declaring a given store a success or failure based on in-store sales. The maintenance of a loss-making, but high-footfall store should instead be viewed as a marketing cost, helping to build brand strength and awareness and boosting sales through other channels.”
– Harry Segal, Research Analyst
Some questions answered in this report include:
- How will the launch of new concept stores affect the market?
- What will the Package Travel Directive reform mean for bricks-and-mortar travel agents?
- What role will shops play in the evolving multichannel sales model?
- How can sales personnel adapt to meet consumer demands?
The bricks-and-mortar travel agents market continues to be impacted by the shift to online bookings; the penetration of in-store purchases has fallen from 25% to 18% over the past year. The industry faces a number of challenges over the coming year, including increasing mobile internet penetration and revisions to the Package Travel Directive that grant additional financial protection to dynamic packages such as click-through holiday products bought online.
The advent of high-tech concept stores that emphasise casual browsing provide an opportunity for the bricks-and-mortar industry to remain relevant in the holiday planning and booking process, but travel agents will be challenged to convert high footfall into in-store sales.
This report examines the use of bricks-and-mortar travel agents by UK residents and forecasts how the market will perform over the next five years. It explores the challenges and opportunities that operators will face in the future and investigates the core drivers behind changes in the market. Key innovations in the market are also explored.
The report also examines consumer attitudes towards travel agents, broader attitudes towards researching and booking holidays and also explores what would make travel agents more appealing to UK consumers.
- Travel agencies are defined as outlets at which holidays or other leisure travel products are purchased, including high street retailers and direct selling companies, many of which now operate online. Although the latter are considered in the report, the focus remains on offline operations.
- Independent travel agents are those that have no links, in terms of ownership, with any tour operators and thus have the ability to sell any holiday from any operator. This compares to the vertically integrated travel agents owned by large travel groups that are heavily biased towards selling their own products, although they do sell holidays from other operators.
- An adult, for the purposes of Mintel’s research, is anyone aged 16 or over.
- The report focuses on leisure holidays, as opposed to business trips or visiting friends and relatives. A holiday must include at least one night’s stay in paid accommodation
The standard travel and tourism definitions used in the terminology of this report are as follows:
- Tourism is any travel which involves at least one overnight stay away from home.
- A holiday is a subjectively defined form of tourism, as defined by the tourist in response to surveys such as the IPS. A holiday can be distinguished from other leisure travel such as visits to friends and relatives (VFR) or shopping trips.
- Short-haul refers destinations within Europe. The following destinations are considered to be short-haul: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus EU, Cyprus Non-EU, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Other Europe.
- Long-haul refers to destinations outside of Europe.
- The Canaries are included as a part of the Spanish market, and Madeira and the Azores are included as part of the Portuguese market.
- A package holiday is defined as the simultaneous sale of at least two elements of a holiday to the traveller: fares on public transport (eg flights) and commercial accommodation (eg hotel or self-catering apartment). Other elements, such as meals or excursions, are not essential to the definition of an inclusive tour. The term ‘all-inclusive’ is used to describe a special type of resort holiday in which food, drink, excursions and other services are provided as part of the total holiday cost.
- An independent holiday is one in which the traveller organises and books transport and accommodation from separate sources (eg a Channel ferry crossing and a caravan site in France).
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