Travel agents fight back against Airbnb

Travel agents want to fight back against the threat of consumers buying DIY holidays. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Travel agents want to fight back against the threat of consumers buying DIY holidays. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Travel agents are battling back against the trend to “self organise” holidays, a report has found, with insolvencies in the industry dropping by nearly a third since 2013.

A study from accountancy firm Moore Stephens found that travel companies were focusing on niche and specialised holidays to stem the economic problems caused by the likes of Airbnb, which helps people book their own holidays online without the need for professional assistance.

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The number of travel agency and tour operators going insolvent has fallen by 30 per cent in the past five years from 47 to 33 per annum, the report found. It said that the internet revolution of the past two decades has thinned out the less financially stable businesses, leaving those whose business models are better insulated against the threat of consumers buying DIY holidays.

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Chris Marsden, restructuring and insolvency partner at Moore Stephens, said: “Travel agencies are performing better than they have been in recent years. New technology platforms and the evolving expectations of travellers have revolutionised the way the sector works.

“More travellers, especially from the younger generation, increasingly want an ‘experience’ rather than just a holiday – that gives travel agents and tour operators a real opportunity.

He added: “It is harder to piece together those more complex, once-in-a-lifetime holidays from the internet, and that is where travel agents can still compete really well.”