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E-mail is a great invention and many businesses could not
function without it, but there are a lot of downsides.

Every member of the Travel Weekly editorial team spends at least an
hour a day sorting through the hundreds of e-mails that arrive in
their inboxes. And, even though everyone claims to be up to their
necks in work, once an e-mail pops up from a mate no-one is too
busy not to reply immediately.

Then there’s the impersonal nature of the thing – why
speak to colleagues across the desk when you can just e-mail them?
And, of course, there’s the dreaded spam. Some companies
don’t allow their staff access to the Internet or e-mail, but
others just can’t live without it.

C&M Recruitment sales manager Barbara Kolosinska said: “I
can’t remember the last time we had a CV sent in by post or
on the fax. E-mail and the Internet have revolutionised the
business.”

She said the speed of access to people’s details and the
ability to forward on an e-mailed CV is essential, but she also
acknowledged the downsides. “We have very good spam killers
here. We get many applications from overseas and we must have good
security.”

However, the travel agent is often hampered by strict policies on
Internet and e-mail access. Many agencies can only look up a
selection of travel-related websites, and woe betide them if they
send personal e-mails to friends.

Arif Khan, a director of Tooting Travel in south London, said his
business still relies heavily on people or clients coming into the
office and, although e-mail is useful, it is not essential.
“Staff do use e-mail to contact clients, but they must only
use it for work-related business and not for personal use,
”he said.

At Tappers Travel, in Teignmouth, Devon, assistant manger Jo Gray
said her company has strict access to the Internet and
e-mails. “We’d be shot if we used e-mail for anything
that’s not work-related and we do not have complete access to
the Internet,” she said.

The company only allows staff to surf the Net on selected travel
websites such as Flybe or Gold Medal, or it is back to good old
viewdata.

Tappers also has tough security measures in place to weed out the
spam, and only encourages offers from known companies to come
through.

Thomas Cook is currently in the process of rolling out e-mail to
its stores. The agencies can already access limited travel-related
websites such as DG&G and weather information.

A spokeswoman said: “While consultants will be able to e-mail
customers if requested, Thomas Cook is encouraging all staff to
focus on face-to-face and telephone interaction with
customers.

“There is no replacement for dealing direct with an
experienced sales consultant when booking a holiday. E-mail should
be only used when absolutely necessary.”

Thomas Cook has a policy in place which limits personal use of
Internet services. However, the company will look to store managers
to oversee the use of e-mail use and to ensure it is treated
appropriately.

At First Choice, meanwhile, e-mail is only accessible by shop
managers and assistant managers, and all stores have their own
account. Staff are asked not to look at non-travel sites when
customers are in the shops.

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