Published on Thursday, March 7, 2013
As Thomas Cook announced it was to close 195 more high street stores and shed a further 2,500 jobs (see story), TripAdvisor claimed only 7% of holidaymakers went into a travel agency to book their last holiday .
The online travel review site said its TripBarometer survey found that globally the majority of holidaymakers (27%) booked via web-based travel agencies. A further 23% booked direct with the accommodation's own websites.
However, as the survey was carried out online, from December 2012 to January 2013, it's perhaps not surprising that the majority of the 35,000 people surveyed were more inclined to book on the internet.
Travel Counsellors chairman David Speakman, who last week was quoted saying the "the high street is dead", claimed there had been a 700% increase in the use of the internet and mobile phone subscriptions over the past 12 years. "You cannot expect that this expansion in customer access to the web will not have an effect," he said.
"The high street is in decline but the travel agent is not. Agents are defined by what they do and who they are and not where they work."
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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.