Andrew Dickson, Wow Factor ConsultancyMany Easter holidaymakers have been given a thorough soaking, and spring lambs must be wishing they’d waited longer before putting in an appearance.

But the silver lining of those clouds will be a renewed commitment from customers to get away for some guaranteed sunshine – giving further impetus to claims we are in for a buoyant summer.

So it was good to hear about plans in the offing for new agencies appearing on a high street near you from Tui, Going Places and, just this week, the Co-ops.

Can it be that confidence is returning in traditional bricks and mortar?

Given the high cost of driving online traffic, opening more shops on the high street has certainly become more attractive, especially with the lower rents and flexible leases now available.

The question for many readers will be is this apparent renaissance of the high street just about servicing online bookings and giving the verticals more in-house sales?

Kuoni and Virgin, two operators without a traditional high street presence, are also planning to open up more retail outlets as they seek the guaranteed sales no longer coming from the multiples.
And Teletext Holidays’ deal with Tesco suggests that even a firm which now considers itself very much a dot-com understands the power of brand building on the high street.

My sons recently booked family holidays with my former company St Andrews Travel, now part of Hays Travel. I was amazed how much they’d paid for holidays in Gran Canaria and Cyprus – yet they weren’t tempted to book online.

I have always maintained that the more holidays cost, the more advice customers need and the harder it is to press the ‘confirm’ button.

So, with the promise of good forward bookings for high-value holidays and a mood to return to face-to-face bookings, it’s no wonder the wise ones want a bit more high street action.


Andrew Dickson is a former high street agent who now runs The Wow Factor Consultancy helping companies to perform better through training, motivation and great service