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Travel agents fighting back- TTI`s spring conference

The death of the travel agent has been predicted time and time again over the last few years but, in fact, travel agents are…

The death of the travel agent has been predicted time and time again over the last few years but, in fact, travel agents are fighting back. As the title suggests, the conference is about travel agents who are adopting new technology and new business models to, not only survive, but prosper in today`s trading environment. Speakers include several travel agents who will present case studies of how they have taken on new technology or started-up with a new, untried business model.

With all the hype surrounding the online travel companies and their continued growth, with tour operators continuing to disintermediate traditional travel agencies, with the growing dominance of the no-frills airlines across European air travel, it appears that travel agents are a threatened species, soon to be extinct. This is not so.

Agents are adopting new technology and new business models. They are continuing to do what they have always done so well, sell travel in an authoritative and expert manner.

Airlines have cut commissions. The global distribution systems are planning to reduce subsidies and start charging agencies for access. No-frills airlines have formed partnerships with accommodation providers and others, giving travellers a one-stop shop that renders a visit to a travel agency unnecessary. Tour operators are increasing investment in their Web sites to sell more holidays direct. Is it any wonder that the death of the travel agent has been much forecasted?

However, in the face of these threats, many agents are not going to throw in the towel. They are fighting back, realising that they must take action or risk extinction. They are adopting new technology to streamline their businesses. They are adopting new business models to re-position their businesses for the 21st Century.

Some agents are introducing self-packaging, playing operators at their own game. Others are setting-up Web sites to bring their considerable travel expertise to bear in the online world. However they have chosen to adapt, all are introducing strategies and technologies that will ensure their future prosperity in the increasingly competitive and hostile environment that is the travel marketplace.

TTI has brought together a group of speakers who can tell you first hand how travel agents are fighting back.

The conference is sponsored by BT. The key note speech will be delivered by Ian Reynolds, Chief Executive of the Association of British Travel Agents.

The full speaker list is as follows:

  • Ian Reynolds, Chief Executive, Association of British Travel Agents

  • Paul Clayton, Director of Information Technology, Global Travel Group

  • David Speakman, Founder and Chairman, Travel Counsellors

  • Norman Gage, Director of Business Travel, Advantage Travel Centres

  • Mike Platt, Managing Director, BTI UK

  • Peter Shortt, Account Director—Distribution and Internet, BT

  • Patrick Cherry, Sales & Marketing Director, Page & Moy

  • David Jones, Executive Vice President, Commercial, Amadeus

  • Clive Jacobs, Executive Vice Chairman,

The event is being held at the Institution of Electrical Engineers in central London on Tuesday 20th April. It is free to TTI members, members of TTI associate organisations including ABTA, AITO, BITOA, CIMTIG, ETOA pay