Relationship marketing stresses the importance of continuous interaction between the seller and the buyer in order to cultivate a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. High interest rates, increasing prices of basic goods and services and a weakening rand has reduced consumer spending on domestic and international travel. Therefore, there is continued pressure on South African travel suppliers to review their current relationship marketing practices to secure customer retention in a competitive and volatile travel market. The purpose of the article is to indicate the current status of the customer market practices of the travel agency industry in Gauteng, and to provide recommendations to the management of travel agencies in the province regarding the improved application of the principles of relationship marketing. The target population for this study was 280 travel agencies of which 170 managers and/or owners participated through personal interviews in the completion of questionnaires. The findings of the study indicate that the owners and managers of travel agencies must create an environment which is more accessible for the critical interaction with customers. The loyalty of customers can be increased when customers are provided with the opportunity to share their experiences and comments with the travel agency in an interactive manner.
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