Mike Batt's statement that his airline-ticket selling home-based agents are "doing extremely well" may be hyperbole, but it's clear that some travel agencies have become more nimble and have adapted to the digital age.
Travel agents are seen by some as remnants of the past in a digital age, but don’t tell that to Mike Batt, the founder and chairman of Travel Leaders Group LLC.
Travel Leaders, the largest U.S. travel-agency operator by agents, caters to time-poor leisure travelers and companies looking to manage expenses but still willing to pay a premium over online booking options for personal advice and support.
Mr. Batt, who has spent most of his career in travel, has held senior positions at British Airways, IAG.MC -1.83% Alamo Rent A Car, and Carlson Cos., a hotel and travel operator. He bought Carlson’s Wagonlit unit in 2008 through a leveraged management buyout, rebranding the business as Travel Leaders and growing revenue and its number of agents through a series of acquisitions.