Australian recruitment agency Staff.com, in an obvious (and successful!) effort to get global publicity, published a list of seven jobs that would become extinct due to technology, including travel agents – but Travel Counsellors has responded that: “Technology will help to ensure there is a future for those that get it right.”
The jobs allegedly heading for extinction are taxi driver, bookkeeper, paralegal, air traffic controller, parking meter attendant, travel agent, and interpreter / translator.
However, in reply Travel Counsellors (which also operates in Australia) has asserted that developments in technology will not spell the end of the travel agent. In fact the company is certain that technology will help to ensure there is a future for those that get it right.
The company strongly believes that technology can never replace the role of a travel agent no matter what advancements are made. However, the company warns that agents will need to utilise technology to ensure they are always able to offer better service than the Internet alone. For example, technology such as social media should not be seen as a danger to agents. Rather, agents can utilise it to communicate with customers on a personal level, therefore giving them greater power to meet and exceed expectations while showing the value they add.
David Speakman, Chairman of Travel Counsellors, said: “We believe that the recent advert by Staff.com in Australia suggesting that travel agents will be extinct by 2025, and widely reported around the globe, is a simple misreading of the industry. As a company we believe in building relationships with our customers based on offering impartial advice, and providing excellent personal service all within a context of trust.
“As a forward looking global company, we are aware that there is a polarisation in the industry. Developments in technology will mean some of the population will be driven further towards booking solely online. In the future computers could answer the phone and lead customers to product. But, what the online channel alone cannot do is be impartial, or give tailored detailed advice, and it certainly can’t become someone to trust.”
The travel company warns that booking a holiday is and will always be an emotional purchase – it is rarely about money alone, and this is why technology can never hope to cut out the agent.
David Speakman added: “Technology can never supersede an agent as it cannot deliver on the emotional side of booking a holiday. Technology and the online channel in general will continue to drive down prices, stripping out all emotion and what you are left with won’t be what many customers want. They will want to see that what they are getting for their money is right for them and technology alone won’t be able to explain this or even deliver this. Connecting emotionally with customers will form the cornerstone of success for agents in the future and agents that do this well, will have an assured future. This is what a Travel Counsellor excels at and we predict that demand for this service will continue to rise.
“Technology can help us to improve our service whilst keeping personal service at the centre of everything we do as agents. That’s why we are far from dismissive of technology as a whole.”
The company believes that ensuring Travel Counsellors have the very best technology at their fingertips, combined with an understanding of the emotional connection customers have with their holidays, will cement their future.