Dolnicar, Sara and Laesser, Christian, 2007, Travel Agency Marketing Strategy: Insights from Switzerland, Journal of Travel Research, 46(2), 133-146.
This article provides insight into alternative strategies for travel agencies in a matured travel market with a high Internet penetration. Discounting arguments that claim that there will be no need for travel agents in the future, two possible roles for travel agents can be derived from theory and prior studies in the field: travel agents can survive if they focus on specific specialized services, such as travel consultation (specialization; hypothesizing that systematic differences exist between the usage of travel agents for different travel contexts); and travel agents can survive if they focus on specific segments of the market, such as older travelers (segmentation; hypothesizing that systematic differences exist between the usage of travel agents depending on the personal characteristics of travelers). Results indicate that the use of travel agencies is indeed associated with specific services related to package holidays, transport services, beach or city holidays, as well as destinations travelers are not familiar with. In contrast, no clear association between travel agent use and sociodemographic characteristics of travelers exists. Hence, the findings from this study support the notion that the most promising future for travel agents will lie in specializing in travel contexts and travel components where other booking channels and media are unlikely to be able to offer a full substitute for travel agent services.