Technology deployed in high street retail stores has a role to play, but must not get in the way, the UK boss of luxury tour operator Kuoni told the Abta Travel Convention this week.
Derek Jones said if it makes life easier for the consumer then it is going to have a place but it must not prevent firms offering great service.
“If technology is going to drive convenience it’s going to have a place. But in the travel we have to remind ourselves why our people are in that [retail] environment.
“They have taken the decision to leave their homes, leave their internet and go to an environment which is all about passion, knowledge and enthusiasm.
“Absolutely there is tech out there to help with the in-store retail experience. I think it’s easy to get carried away with shiny things. It’s about responding to what consumers want.
Richard Downs, founder and chief executive of online cruise and ski specialist agent Iglu, said: “Many businesses have fallen in love with technology and lost sight of the consumer.
“It needs to come back to the need to understand the customer experience. What are they looking for? If that can be done by automation and it’s their choice the onus is on us to deliver that.”
Downs added human help to assist a customer to find the right choice could be more efficient and interacting with a person with passion and purpose could be a “much better experience”.
He added this could depend on the product being sold, whether it is seen as a commodity or is more highly valued.