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Studies Show That 69 Percent Of Travelers Saved Time And Money By Using A Travel Agent

Many thought travel agents were pretty much done after the emergence and dominance of online travel agents (OTAs) over the last two decades. However, new studies are showing that consumers are going back to using travel specialists to plan their vacation, and the overall experience is better than booking online in almost every facet. Before the major online booking engines came about in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, travel agents ruled the world of travel booking. Then online booking showed up and almost half the total number of traditional travel agencies got bumped out of the business.

Customers are having renewed faith in their travel agents, and according to new studies, that faith is paying off. A Global survey conducted by ASATA/TNS, had 63% of the people that responded claiming to have a improved vacation experience when they used a travel agent. 66% of the participants said that using a travel agent helped them avoid costly mistakes, 64% said their travel agent was able to find them better deals, and 69% said using a travel agent saved them time and money. Ironically, that last stat is one of the main reasons why customers had shifted from seeking the advice of travel specialists to booking themselves online. They believed by using an online booking website they could find better deals and the booking process would be faster. However that may no longer be the case due to the overwhelming number of these types of websites online, all presenting varying and conflicting information. According to Google, it takes the average online travel consumer 32 visits across an average of 10 different websites before coming to a booking decision.

The same study showed that using a travel agent saved as much as 4 hours on the time taken to book a trip. This is not shocking when you consider the time it takes to search, review and compare prices across dozens of booking platforms before coming to a decision. By using a travel agent, you will have someone better trained with more resources at their fingertip to do that work for you. Many online travel agencies are feeling the consumers need for personalized service, and are now giving customers the option of either booking directly online or contacting an in-house sales representative. Though better than nothing at all, this still does not compare to the expert knowledge an independent travel advisor provides, as they are normally specialist in an particular category of travel and can provide way more than just booking services for clients. Customers also prefer the unbiased opinion they get from an independent travel agent, as they are not committed to any individual booking platform or vendor.

This new resurgence in consumers seeking out the assistance of travel agents have been very encouraging for travel agencies, and many host agencies are now ramping up their marketing to find new travel advisors and to encourage those that left the industry to come back. With all that is happening in the world today, from terrorist attacks, civil unrest and the ZIKA virus affecting many destinations, travelers are finding comfort in an expert providing extra guidance and knowledge. Simply going online searching for rates and booking a trip is no longer sufficient for many travelers. Vacationers need knowledge of local situations, experiences and safety blanket if and when something goes wrong.

In the Asian community, the same survey conducted with over 6,000 participants showed that 85% of Chinese prefer to book travel via a travel app. In Europe and Canada however, most travelers preferred using a travel agent. Online booking is still highly favored in the USA and Latin America, but the trend over the last few years in the US are favoring the travel agents. Over the past five years the number of suppliers has increased from 150 to 300, and this year 73% of agents in the US are first timers.

The next time you are booking a vacation, you can choose to take a chance by going online and doing it yourself, or you have the option of enlisting the services of a trained travel specialist that can not only find you the same things you can find yourself online, they will also give you access to information you did not know existed. While some experienced travel agents that provide specialized services may charge a fee, most travel agents will do the work for you for free as they make their earning from commissions paid to them by the suppliers they deal with.



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