‘Transactional’ trend led to Cook Co-op merger, says Speakman

The Co-operative Travel Thomas Cook retail merger is the inevitable consequence of large high street chains becoming less relational and more transactional with their customers.

David Speakman, Travel Counsellors chairman, said he believed that the merger deal was a face-saving way for the Co-op to exit the travel industry.

“You are either on the internet or you are super relational. Anything that does not give super service is going to fall through the middle – that’s what you’re seeing now,” he said.

Speakman accepted that some online firms are developing models that are based around their relationships with customers.

But he added: “Taken as a whole high street chain travel agencies are not special. If they are not trying to look after the customer then those are the ones that fall by the wayside.

“It does not mean online is killing the high street it just means you are either online or super relational – most of the high street travel agencies in chains are not super relational.”

Speakman added: “There had to be a rationalisation but one has to pity the staff who are the casualties.”

Bolton-based Travel Counsellors has nearly 800 agents in the UK and almost 1,000 worldwide working from home.

 >>‘Transactional or relational’: David Stevenson on David Speakman’s vision

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