There is a widespread perception that the use of travel agents has diminished greatly since the advent of the internet. With the ability to virtually tour potential vacation destinations online, then use travel sites like Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, KAYAK and endless others to book vacations at discounted rates, is anyone still using travel agents?According to a recent survey by Travel Weekly, the answer is a resounding “yes,” especially when the travel is for a special vacation or involves an international destination (it’s especially true for trips to the Caribbean). In fact, the survey revealed that 70% of Americans planning this kind of travel in the next couple of years plan to use a travel agent. Those surveyed simply feel the agent is more familiar with the destination than they can be, and will deliver a higher quality experience versus just a cheaper price they would get online. In other words, they get greater value. And if you think this trend is driven by Baby Boomers who have a history of using travel agents and might not be as internet savvy as younger people, think again. Millennials (age 18 – 29) index 43% higher than average for the use of travel agents for leisure travel!
To strengthen its bonds with the important travel agent community, IBEROSTAR Hotels and Resorts has developed some valuable tools agents can use to better target and mine their market area. What is your experience? Are you more comfortable using a travel professional for important travel than taking your chances online? Let us know what you think!