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Stark agreed that agents should


see any vacancies opening up in their town as a potential business prospect: “It’s an opportunity. The vacancy rates haven’t stopped our members from opening up and moving to larger premises,” he said. Agents were also questioned


about the means by which they take bookings. Around 88% of the 850 agents said the main method was still face-to-face; 10% said the phone was the top method; 2% said email. Surprisingly, no agents cited the web as the main tool. Agents were asked whether this had changed compared with five years ago, but the results were largely similar. Some 94% of agents said face-to-face bookings were the chief way to take a booking five years ago – little difference compared with the 88% who said the same today. Around 6% said they had taken more bookings by phone five years ago. Elsewhere, agents were asked


what they felt was the biggest threat to their business. The most significant risk was online discounting by operators, as well as customers comparing prices, with 63% of agents citing this as their biggest concern. Many agents reported that customers searched for holidays and prices online, then came into the store expecting staff to match prices. They said clients were increasingly shopping around using the internet. Respondents admitted that when


88% 10%


24%


DO YOU AGREE WITH THE RESEARCH? Let us know what you think the biggest threats to your business are – email feedback@ttgdigital.com and tell us your thoughts.


the online discounting was too low, they had to “let the booking go”. Second among their concerns


(24%) was undercutting by other agents, with respondents conceding that one of their biggest gripes was when customers “played off” one agent against another. Challenges of operating in a high


street environment – such as car parking costs, business rates and rent increases – were seen as the major threat by only a small number of agents. Just 7% said car parking was the biggest risk to their business; 4% cited business rates; and 2% said rent hikes. Other feedback from agents suggested there was a trend in customers having lower budgets than in the past. Despite negative reports in the


press, and the fact that agents are having to work hard for bookings, the rise in footfall and steady numbers favouring face-to-face bookings suggests there remains a promising future.


fieldmarketingsolutions.co.uk


said the main way they take bookings now is face-to-face


said the phone


said undercutting by other agents was their second biggest concern


...ago the main booking method was face to face, 94% of agents said


Five years 68%


of agents said there was less footfall than five years ago


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