Mobile could pose biggest threat to travel stores of the future

Mobile could pose biggest threat to travel stores of the future

 

By Travolution
By Travolution

The move by technology giant Apple to establish a high street presence should provide the inspiration for the bricks and mortar travel stores of the future, but mobile could emerge as their biggest threat.

The fourth annual WTM Vision half-day conference in London debated the future of the high street with David Burling, managing director of Tui UK and Andy Washington, managing director of Expedia taking part in a panel debate.

Burling used the example of Apple, which has a network of stores throughout the UK in prime locations showcasing its products, as an example of how the future of the high street might look.

“The travel agency has evolved and it will keep evolving. If you have bookings that can be transacted across different channels the stores of the future may be different from the stores of today.

“What is clear is that the quality of the service and advice that good travel agents can give is still very important.

“Channels are becoming more blurred. The technology will become more available for consumers to start the booking in one channel and finish it elsewhere.

“The strength of the retailer is really around the product knowledge and customer service but there is also a role for the stores of the future offering more inspiration at the very early stages of the booking.

“Who would have believed that Apple of all people would have decided to open a load of retail stores?”

Mike Greenacre, former managing director of Co-operative travel  and a delegate at today’s event agreed.

“I very much agree with Dave about inspiration. The high street has greatly evolved and I think it will continue. The big change that will come is how retail stores embrace this technology.

“Where there is an Apple store it’s the busiest shop in town by a long long way.”

However, Andy Washington, managing director of Expedia UK, said: “The biggest threat to the high street us mobile.

“What’s stopping me going into a high street store getting them to do all the work and then googling it on my mobile to find it cheaper?”

Burling said Tui UK’s strategy is based around its differentiated product offering that stems from its close partnerships with hoteliers that has seen it develop a number of resort concepts.

“We want to be involved in designing a particular hotel experience with our partners. By doing that we get a better consumer experience, better repeat business and better reviews.”

Burling said concepts like its Splashworld water park resorts were showing “huge growth”.

“It’s identifying the customer requirements and working with hotel partners. We can do that because of our scale.”

– See more at: http://www.travolution.co.uk/articles/2012/04/20/5624/mobile-could-pose-biggest-threat-to-travel-stores-of-the-future.html#sthash.keVsk23U.dpuf

Customers threaten Island Cruises with legal action

Customers threaten Island Cruises with legal action

By Phil Davies

Customers threaten Island Cruises with legal actionA group of 50 passengers are taking legal action after an outbreak of illness on the ship Island Escape.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell has been instructed to investigate the concerns of 50 passengers who travelled on the Tui UK & Ireland ship between March and June this year.

The solicitors said many were confined to their cabins after suffering diarrhoea and sickness and there were also complaints about food, damp rooms and overflowing toilets, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.

Leeds pensioners Ralph and Patricia Hewitt said they were left traumatised when the ship listed violently to one side after leaving the port of Civitavecchia, near Rome.

The ship lurched suddenly to one side, throwing passengers – many of whom were in bars and restaurants – to the floor and causing injuries, they said.

Then the second week of their trip was ruined when they caught a sickness bug which had been rife onboard

The grandparents joined the Island Escape in May for a week’s Mediterranean cruise and then a week in a hotel in Majorca.

A spokeswoman for Island Cruises said: “We are sorry to hear of this experience on board the Island Escape. As this case is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

“The ultimate priority for Island Cruises is the health, safety and comfort of all our customers. We operate stringent health and hygiene procedures in line with industry standards.”