Analyse how the use of technology has impacted on the retail travel environment and retail operational practices.
The use of technology and the improvements affect the retail travel environment in positive and negative ways.
The use of technology helps retail travel agents to succeed and carries on the business in the tourism industry. The technology allows travel agents to book the products the customers requires, the agent can now use the computer to book products instead of having to phone up the provider of the product. The systems allow the retail travel agents to quickly check the availability and the total amount whilst the customer is sitting in front of the agent. The negative influences of technology is that the general public are now able to access the internet and look, research and book products on their own without the help of the agent. This is known as dynamic holidays and affects travel agents as they lose out on commission and lose customers. If they lose many customers or do not gain a lot of business on a regular basis, the agency may go into administration. However, the improvements in technology mean that there can be travel agents who work at home (homeworkers), booking and talking to customers online and via phone calls.
The article I found, explains how travel agents are not affected at the present time. This may be because people do not fully trust typing personal information, mainly bank details, onto a computer and some people do not know how to use the internet so would prefer for an agent to do all of the work allowing the customer to be relaxed, knowing their holiday is all booked.
The improvements of technology has benefited the retail travel agents over the years as the computer systems are always having new updates to make the systems work as fast as possible. The systems allow agents to do many things, depending on what the customer or agent need to use the computer for. The improvements mean the agents find it easier to book products on the computers instead of being on a phone call for several hours every day. The disadvantages of improvements to technology are that people can use the computers at home/ at work or on electrical devices whilst on the go. There are now websites set up allowing people to read and create reviews about destinations/accommodation/ excursions meaning that people do not have to go in to a retail travel agency asking for advice and personal opinions. You are also able to go on the websites direct (whatever you are looking for) to view images about what they offer and important details (prices, opening hours and how to get there). Another disadvantage of the improvements of technology for travel agents is that there are many comparison sites, meaning people can search for holidays/flights/ accommodation or other products to find the cheapest price possible.