Many companies within the travel sector use non-geographic telephone numbers as the main point of contact for their customers. A quick Google search for travel agents or a glance at Teletext holidays will prove this.
Non-geographic numbers (e.g. 0845 numbers and 0800 numbers) are so called because they do not identify the location of the company that is using them by the dialing code alone. So, a travel agent in Slough could have an 0845 number rather than using its local number with the 01753 dialing code. This is particularly useful for travel agents as they won’t be judged on their location if they promote their phone number on their website or in newspapers and therefore will receive calls from across the UK.
Another reason that non-geographic numbers are so popular with travel agents is because they can specifically choose a memorable phone number that will enable them to stand out in their advertising.
What’s more non-geographic numbers enable companies to smarten up their telephone systems – completely online, without the need for any additional hardware or equipment. Call management features that are prevalent in the travel sector include welcome messages (e.g. “Welcome to ABC Travel”) and caller options (“press 1 for bookings, 2 for…”etc).
Another key benefit of non-geographic phone numbers is the fact that they are totally portable. If a travel agent works from home for half the week and from the office from the other half, then their calls can follow them wherever they go. All they need to do is pop online and change the receiving landline or mobile that calls to their non-geographic number goes to.
It seems however, that no one number range is dominant and different travel agents use different numbers depending on their specific needs.
Many travel agents use 0845 numbers, the UK’s most popular business phone number. Everyone knows 0845 numbers and for this reason they are very established and have a high awareness. BT has also recently made calls to 0845 number free for 14 million of its landline customers who are on its Anytime/Evening & Weekend call packages. Therefore potential customers that are shopping for a holiday can contact travel agents free of charge from their home landline.
For travel agents that want to offer mobile callers a great deal (and according to Ofcom 40% of all UK calls
are now made from mobiles) – then 03 numbers are ideal. 03 numbers cost customers the same to dial as a normal landline number – even from a mobile phone. Plus, they are also included in the free minutes offered by landline and mobile providers.
Additionally, 0800 numbers are popular within the travel sector because they are great for marketing. It is largely known that using an 0800 number can dramatically boost the number of calls companies receive. The Institute of Direct Marketing found that this can even be as high as a 185% increase.
It seems that the use of non-geographic numbers in the travel sector continues to escalate and when the above benefits are considered it is easy to see why they are so popular.