President Obama thought he had trouble when tangling with Congressional leaders in Washington. Before starting his family vacation last week, he made a remark on his Midwest "get back to work" tour that has travel agents up in arms.
Travel Leaders Group fired back quickly:
During a town hall meeting in Atkinson, Illinois, President Obama remarked that “One of the challenges in terms of rebuilding our economy is – businesses have gotten so efficient, that, when was the last time somebody went to a bank teller instead of using an ATM? Or used a travel agent instead of going online? A lot of jobs that used to require people now have become automated.”
“Not so fast, Mr. President,” chided Travel Leaders CEO Barry Liben. “While many components of travel may have become commoditized, there’s no commoditizing the human touch. Our more than 30,000 travel agent experts are proud taxpaying professionals who offer what the Internet can never replicate: providing the human touch to the traveling public through exceptional hands-on care, all while saving them time and, yes, money. It’s no wonder our business is growing and thriving.”
Liben in turn rhetorically asked the President, “When was the last time somebody went to their online site instead of going to a travel agent when they were stranded in an airport because of terrible weather or worse? Mr. President, we’re thankful you don’t have to worry about such issues, but please understand that millions of savvy Americans prefer working with travel agents because they know they can rely on their assistance from the moment they first book their travel to the time they return home safely,” Liben explained.
“Add to that the knowledge and expertise travel agents provide through their counsel, coupled with the automation at travel agents’ fingertips — including websites of their own — and you have one of the most efficient and reliable means of accessing the best experience on earth."