It was not long ago that legions of travel agents labored all across America in offices ranging from those located in class A office buildings to downtrodden strip malls. They gawked at 14-inch green CRT screens at gobbledygook codes that only they could understand.
When it came to travel, travel agents were masters of their domain. Corporations invited bids from travel agents to handle their travel. Consumers felt lucky if they had a good travel agent. Frequent travelers went out of their way to befriend their agent.
The universe of travel agents in many ways was similar to the universe of health insurance agents and brokers of the present. Of course there are differences, but similarities between travel agents of yesterday and health care insurance agents and brokers of today are uncanny.
Technology Caused Disintermediation
In industry after industry, technology has caused disintermediation. Travel agents are simply intermediaries between the airlines, resorts, cruise lines and travelers.
Technology not only causes disintermediation from the legacy business models, it also produces new intermediation models. Today it is much easier to buy a ticket directly from United, Delta Air Lines, U.S. Airways, Southwest and American. You can also directly book cruises with Disney,Carnival or Royal Caribbean in a much easier fashion than in the past.
Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, Tripadvisor and Makemytrip are examples of new generation technology based intermediaries who have prospered at the expense of legacy travel agents. The health insurance business is no different….Real more at Forbes