Travel agent tries out paperless booking centres

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Brochures given out by travel agents could become a thing of the past.

The arrival of the internet meant members of the public had access to vast amounts of information and services for the first time – and the ability to book holidays independently was a particularly popular part of this.

As people took their travel plans into their own hands, traditional travel agents suffered. Fewer customers needed to go into high street offices to browse brochures and have their trips organised for them when they could do it all at home from the comfort of their own computers.

However, the travel agency could be set for a revival after one company launched a new plan to overhaul theirs by cleverly combining it with social media.

Virgin Holidays has revealed it will open two paperless holiday laboratories in the UK this summer, Travel Weekly reports.

One will be in the Meadowhall Centre in Sheffield, while the other will be situated within House of Fraser at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent.

Rather than offering shelves of brochures advertising hotels and resorts, customers will be provided with big screens and iPads on which they can create their dream break using video content and images.

Staff will help people to bring together all the aspects they have chosen and translate them into a dream holiday. Then, instead of printing out the details, the paperless theme will continue as they are given their information in digital format to examine more closely at home.

This can all be shared on social media to make the whole experience more immersive.

Virgin’s Mark Anderson said: "Our holiday laboratories have been designed with one purpose – to harness the latest technology and the increasingly powerful influence of social media to create something really different on the high street." 

It could be a great way of tempting people back into travel agencies without having to stick to the old model – and it should be much more environmentally friendly without all that paper.

Paperless services also hit the headlines in the US this week, after it was revealed that the world’s first completely paperless public library will open in Texas this summer.

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