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.