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Travel-Agent Industry Crumbling

Not so long ago the travel industry was a relatively stable place. Travelers went to local travel agents who in turn acted as the channel for information from various airlines, cruise lines, hotel chains and vacation companies to the consumer.

Agents served a vital part of the value chain, and with clients� highly personalized and variable needs it was hard to imagine how these experts could ever become unnecessary. In 1995 the number of single-office travel agencies peaked at about 22,000...and then things changed.

The online travel agents upped the ante. They demystified travel and opened up control of information to anyone who had internet access. Airlines and hotels readjusted their booking channels to be able to go first to online agencies and direct to astute travelers.

Soon, online communities formed allowing travelers to connect with others who had been there...getting firsthand advice on where to stay and how to get there. By 2004, the single-office travel agencies had been cut in half...decimated in less than ten years! Moral of the story � things change quickly today.