Agents Advancing

Tuesday 27 April 2010

The Strand Palace Hotel London

In the excitement of the online world, developments in mobile, the introduction of social media and so on, the role of the travel agent has simply not been on any conference agenda. Yet, agents are still playing a major role in advising on and selling the travel industry’s products.

Initially spurred on by the no frills airlines, consumers have been educated to buy travel online and yet, in times of crisis – such as airline strikes, flu epidemics or travel companies going bust, consumers have turned to agents for help and guidance.

Arguably no sector of the industry has been more affected by the Internet and advancements in consumer technology.

With widespread adoption of the web at the turn of the Millennium, many industry observers were predicting the death of the travel agent.   Whilst many agents have adapted to survive, they have seen their fellows that have stuck with their 20th Century business models fall by the wayside.

Current thinking is that there is still a strong role for agents to play. Technology companies have been developing new tools that have allowed agents to raise their efficiency and remain competitive whilst still providing consumers with the service they demand. New business models have seen agents growing profitably. Agency organisations and groupings have provided independent agents with support services that they could never afford to provide for themselves.

This conference examined how travel agents are evolving to remain relevant in the 21st Century.


Click on the presentation title to download:

‘Keynote: Agents Advancing’

John McEwan, Chairman, ABTA

‘Can the Independent Agent Survive?’

Julia Lo Bue-Said, Director, Leisure, Advantage Travel Centres

‘Keynote: Do we need travel agents?’

Mike Greenacre, Managing Director, The Co-operative Travel Group

‘A Tour Operator’s Perspective’Chris Roe, Sales and Distribution Director, Virgin Holidays

‘Reform of the ATOL Scheme’David Moesli, Deputy Director, Consumer Protection Group, Civil Aviation Authority

‘New Business Models: Corporate Travel’Barry Whittaker, General Manager, Tzell UK

‘New Business Models: Retail Agency’Victoria Sanders, Managing Director, Teletext Holidays

Latest developments in Technology
Paul Middleton, Head of Client Relationships, Comtec

Travel Technology Evolution
Robert da Re, CEO, Dolphin Dynamics

There was also a ‘Technology Super Panel’:

Tim Wright, Commercial Director UK & Ireland, Travelport
Paul Middleton, Head of Client Relationships, Comtec Group Ltd
Rob Golledge, Head of Marketing Communications, Amadeus UK & Ireland
Roberto da Re, Chief Executive Officer, Dolphin Dynamics

Find out more in the report by Linda Fox in our Newsletter – May 2010