A few years ago, if you phoned up a travel agent to book a holiday, the agent would use manual booking. There would be a big sheet pinned up on the wall around them. They would have lots of dates on with customers names and long reference numbers. If a date you wanted was fully booked up, they would have to give you an alternative date or change your accommodation. It was a lot of hassle. Nowadays, travel agents have reservation systems. Its quicker to input data and process. All the admin is done at the click of a button. When they had the manual booking, it would have been more frustrating if a customer wanted ancillary such as car hire or insurance. With the increase in the internet, booking ancillaries is much easier to process. A customer can have all their holiday information on a piece of a4 paper now without all these confusing reference numbers and tickets.
A communication method such as emails, mobiles, fax and redial buttons have had a good effect on sales and products as its faster communication, cheap and entitles you to do more sales as you save time. Sending an email or phoning someone is done at the click of a button. Emails are used to customers now instead of sending tickets. This aids security by not sending tickets through the post.
You can book a holiday over the phone nowadays. You can find a holiday on teletext or on an online e-retailer and phone up the call centre number they tell you to ring and book it there and then. You can pay by credit or debit card. This is a good advantage for the retail and business travel industry as its faster sales and they may get more commission for telesales. Its good for the customer as well because they can book a holiday in their own home without any hassle but its also a disadvantage because of fraud. When you pay for things with your credit or debit card over the phone or internet you dont need to supply your pin, so anyone could note down your card details and away they go!
Relationships between the retail and business environment can sometimes be challenging due to integration. The bigger companies such as Thomson, are taking over the independent travel agents so there is quite abit of competition. Some retail and business agents can work together. When there is competition between travel agents it can make quite a good impact on the travel industry as they will be offers and discounts on for the customers. In a few years time though, all the independent travel agents will have all been bought out and there will just be all the big integrated companys left.
Retail travel and business agencies provide different services and products. A package holiday is made up of three things, your transport from airport, your accommodation and your flight. This package holiday is made up by the tour operator which then sells the package holiday as well as ancillaries which are car hire, insurance, bureau de change and extra leg room. Retail travel organizations seek to gain a competitive advantage. There are different types of travel organizations; multiples, miniples, independent, home workers, specialists, holiday hypermarkets and e-agents. Seeking to gain the competitive advantage is how you get more custom.
The level of service that retail travel organizations offer is very important as good customer service determines whether your going to go back; returning customers is important in every business as they will have trust in you and depend on your service. Good customer service is great for independent agents as they will know most of the customers intimately so they will know what the customers want and expect.
If you train your staff to the customers advantage then thats great for the company. The employee needs to know everything about the industry and about different destinations. Independent travel agents will have more one to one training as its a smaller business. Promotional activities such as discounting, low deposits and advertising will gain you more custom. Its quite bad for independents as they have to use their own money to put in the business, whereas in all multiples the lead shop funds all discounts and ad campaigns.
The more add on sales and ancillary products and services you have on offer the more commission your company will make. For example, car hire, insurance or paying for extra leg room on the plane. Integrated organizations can gain a competitive advantage as they have more access to money so they can promote and give more services. Market share is great for all businesses as the bigger the company the bigger the profit.