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report on business and retail operations in the travel industry

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Introduction

Kirsty Jarvis Retail travel assignment I'm a branch manager with 'centre spot travel' I'm looking to open another retail outlet in my area. Some investors have asked me to do a report to explain the business and its operations as they are not familiar with it. The UK retail travel environment has several agencies within its sector; independents; only have one or two outlets, usually managed by the owner may not be as tough on rules and uniform etc. multiples; are found on high streets throughout the UK, have well known names, they are often owned by large tour operators, have a large number of staff, crack down on rules and uniform. Integrated; part of a multiple, sell their own holidays first and e-agents; advertise holidays via the internet, sell holidays via the internet, offices not generally open to the public and have large call centres. For example e-agents operate as online travel agents; they may not have any retail shops. Lastminute.com is an e-agent, a bloke called Mr. Hoberman owns it, and it is a worldwide company and advertises on the net. It employs 198 staff and has access to selling city breaks, cruises, spa's etc. The UK business travel environment again, has several agencies; transnational; a company that sets up in another country. ...read more.

Middle

TTA is the Travel Trust association, they offer full consumer financial protection. Advances in technology have affected retail and business travel operations in many ways. The internet has been a major rise in all holidays as you can now book over the net. Many independent travel agents are failing as call center's are opening to assist customers doing online booking. With the net coming in, there has been an increase in sales, more direct sales and a bigger selection. Faster aircraft has been introduced for long haul flights so customers are satisfied as their journeys have become shorter. There has also been an advance in ferries for sea travel. Ferries these days have everything you need on them. Many people are going on cruises instead of booking a holiday abroad. Having a faster ferry with entertainment makes long haul destinations easier and more enjoyable. Many firms and operators have their own transport now instead of hiring from another company and losing money. For example before Thomson had their own aircraft 'Thomson fly', they might have hired aircraft from Monarch airlines. This would have been bad for Thomson's business as they lose money, but good for Monarch airlines as Thomson are advertising their airline. A few years ago, if you phoned up a travel agent to book a holiday, the agent would use manual booking. ...read more.

Conclusion

Seeking to gain the competitive advantage is how you get more custom. The level of service that retail travel organizations offer is very important as good customer service determines whether your going to go back; returning customers is important in every business as they will have trust in you and depend on your service. Good customer service is great for independent agents as they will know most of the customers intimately so they will know what the customers want and expect. If you train your staff to the customers advantage then that's great for the company. The employee needs to know everything about the industry and about different destinations. Independent travel agents will have more one to one training as it's a smaller business. Promotional activities such as discounting, low deposits and advertising will gain you more custom. It's quite bad for independents as they have to use their own money to put in the business, whereas in all multiples the lead shop funds all discounts and ad campaigns. The more add on sales and ancillary products and services you have on offer the more commission your company will make. For example, car hire, insurance or paying for extra leg room on the plane. Integrated organizations can gain a competitive advantage as they have more access to money so they can promote and give more services. Market share is great for all businesses as the bigger the company the bigger the profit. ...read more.

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