According to a report by IHK München (the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich), the number of stationary travel agencies has been in decline for years. In the years 2011 and 2012 alone, 250 travel agencies closed down. Currently, there are just under 10,000 travel agencies operating in Germany. Many customers research online and then go into the agency to actually book their trip, but it is only a matter of time before these customers complete their bookings online too.
Travel agencies are concerned about this and are looking for new options. Many agencies are turning to “hybrid marketing” – combining online and offline services. It is important to emphasise the special features of travel agencies: quality of advice, a focus on ensuring customers experience the holiday that is right for them, flexibility, and tailor-made travel offers. Personalised service is something that the internet is unable to provide. For this reason, there is a new trend now emerging in the form of mobile travel consultants who visit clients’ homes and offer completely personalised help and advice.
Dr Susann Beetz of the Ideas 2020 team answered this question on the basis of an article published by IHK München und Oberbayern entitled “Reisebüro der Zukunft – Zurück in die Zukunft” (The travel agency of the future – back to the future), IHK magazine 04 / 2014 („Reisebüro der Zukunft – Zurück in die Zukunft“, IHK-Magazin 04 / 2014.