Whose to blame!

  spuds 20:56 21 Aug 2004

Is it the internet,the general public or the ever pressured overworked business staff. Reading in a newspaper article today,there was an item about travel agents considering charging a 'consultation' fee of possibly £20 for their services. It would appear as though travel agents are getting a little concerned that the public are using their travel agent facilities as that of a free public library service. People are visiting the travel agents and obtaining all the information and brochures etc, then the people are returning home and obtaining/purchasing various holiday and travel package deals via the internet. The travel agents state that the £20 'consultation' fee, would be reimbursed, if the deal was completed through them.

The Forum Editor recently asked if you would be prepared to pay extra for a better customer service click here

How would you consider the above, are the travel agents right in their approach regarding the internet and their possible future charges.Would you get a better or different service, What do you think!.

  Valvegrid 21:07 21 Aug 2004

Well, I haven't used a travel agent for years, I go straight to the organ grinder, either Virgin Holidays or British Airways. Never had a problem with either of them, plus I get some good discounts from Virgin because I've been travelling with them for so long.

Plus when you book on-line you get extra discounts as well, so Travel Agents are going to have to be a bit more competitive if anything.

By the way, you can get plenty of brochures off the Internet, no need for travel agents, so were does that leave them?

  spuds 22:26 21 Aug 2004

Personally, within a three/five mile radius of my home location, there are eight rather large travel agent outlets.Looking at the decor and staff present, the internet doesn't seem to have much effect on their business's and possible profit margins.

I must admit though, that I asked a local outlet for their cheapest international airfare price recently.The young lady behind the desk was rather surprised, when I told her that I could get the same travel arrangement for £120 less than she was quoting. I now wonder if that 'consultation' would have cost me twenty pounds.

  Sapins 22:30 21 Aug 2004

Evening spuds,

£20 consultation fee, does that include a blood pressure test, mines just gone up after reading your thread :-(

I can't see how their service would improve, unlike their bank balance, they had better wake up to the fact that we can book and pay for holidays without leaving the house, and get them a lot cheaper.

Come to think of it we will probably be able to take a virtual holiday without leaving the house before long.



  Valvegrid 22:42 21 Aug 2004

Exactly, its a case of caveat emptor! let the buyer beware, I think the Internet must be having an effect, because why are they considering charging £20 for a "consultation". I think they could well shot themselves in the foot if they don't wise up and become more competitive, don't forget Teletext and the travel channel as well, there's some pretty good deals on there as well. It must be a worrying time for the High street travel agent.

To make matters wost, most of the major airlines offer packages as well which you can book directly with them.

It would be interesting to hear from someone in the travel industry on their viewpoint.

By the way, were did you hear they were going to consider charging a £20 consutation fee?

  Forum Editor 23:27 21 Aug 2004

are the only two words necessary to explain what's happening.

Travel sales account for the largest slice of online business, and it's hardly surprising - the internet was just made for making your business and holiday travels arrangements. I can't remember when I last visited a travel agent - all my flights and hotels are booked online and so far I haven't had a single booking go wrong. The British Airways Executive Club site is a model of how to do it, and most airlines have excellent online booking facilities.

Any travel agent who tried to charge me a £20 fee for advice would not see me again, and if was ABTA's PR consultant I would be warning them not to be so silly.

  kev.Ifty 23:43 21 Aug 2004

Try phoning up for that bargin you spot on the text service.....

"Oh sorry sir that offer has just gone, but we have got Playa-de-las-Americas for £xxxx"

I did recently,for the first time,book tickets online to fly to Schipol, with KLM. I found it much easier and a little cheaper than visting my local Thomas Cook.

But there again i have always had a thing about those Girls in the T.C. uniform........

Sorry!! (Perhasps not 20 quids worth though)

cheers Kev ;~)

This is not new. If you damage your car and your insurance company asks you to get three quotes,garages will often make a charge, refundable if you go ahead.
Just imaginge how you would feel if you ran a computer shop and someone came in for a quote for building a bespoke P.C. You worked out the cost of all the bits wanted,added a sum for labour, and then you were told that all the bits were available cheaper elsewhere, and that the customer had a friend who would build it for a tenner. You have spent a lot of time and effort for free.
Yes Market forces do prevail, just as they did when supermarkets caused corner shops to close.Now you buy and pay what the supermarket decides; specialist shops are virtually extinct, just as choice is.
If travel agents charge for consultation, it is obvious most people will not pay, but purchase the cheapest they can find on the internet, and then scream blue murder when they get their fingers burnt.

  Sapins 09:04 22 Aug 2004

Blimey, next time I visit the UK I'll have to be extra careful when driving. Does the insurance company pay for the 2 quotes you don't take up?

All quotes over here, France, are totally free and usually given with a smile and you often don't get the bill for weeks unless you ask for it. I can't vouch for Carcasonne though.

You also get a 10 year guarantee by law on work carried out.

"You worked out the cost of all the bits wanted,added a sum for labour, and then you were told that all the bits were available cheaper elsewhere, and that the customer had a friend who would build it for a tenner."

I would imagine that most people would just ask for the quote and leave it at that, or have manners and tact gone out of the window?

  oresome 17:07 22 Aug 2004

You can see the travel agents point.

The same happens with every other high street retailer. People call in and seek advice, collect brochures, handle the goods and then walk out and compare prices and purchase on the net.

Travel agents no doubt are competitive with other similar travel agents on the high street, but the costs involved with on-line retailing are lower, so the prices charged can be lower.

Difficult to see where it will end. Perhaps the high street will just be a proliferation of clothes shops, but there again, Asda and Tesco are eating into this market.

Could be that we just have charity shops with ex IT consultants working behind the counters!

  Dorsai 17:27 22 Aug 2004

If they chrge for a quote, walk away. I get calls....

...'How much to fit'...I just work it out and say...

If i work it out right, i am the cheapest, so then i get to do the work.

If i am not, so be it.

To charge you for telling you that i charge twice what the rest do....tell me to F off. I would deserve it. I would say the same to you.

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