Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Travolution@ITT - Part 5 - Poignancy for retailers

So, at last, the actual conference begins.

After the dignitaries have exchanged gifts and patted one another on the back it’s down to the serious business of the day and why 400 delegates have descended on Oman.

First up is a chap called Paco Underhill, who runs a New York-based retail consultancy firm called Envirosell and has, perhaps, been brought in to scare the hell out of High Street travel agents.

His job is the dark art of establishing what consumers want, or what consumers should be offered, in the retail environment.

In short: the consumer is changing its shopping behaviour due to increasing pressures on their time; women will come dominate the buying process; and the traditional retail space is not the most efficient or lucrative way to interact with customers.

What Underhill hinted at very cleverly with his presentation was how the traditional travel agent shop is now very much an outdated and unproductive model.

He managed to attract a fair few laughs from delegates, but there was a certain feeling that much of what he was saying will strike a poignant note with many in the room.

Rather disappointingly, for an industry seeing so much of its revenue being generated online, there was scant mention of the internet and its role in the process.

[The BBC’s Nicholas Witchell, the moderator for the two morning sessions, didn’t allow questions from the floor!]

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

[Pictures from Flickr here]

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