Six Reasons Travel Agents Are Back Stronger Than Ever
1. Travel agents offer guidance.
It’s a scary world out there, and even seasoned travelers are a little nervous. Whether they’re facing terrorism or just getting bumped from an airplane, travelers are more inclined to talk through their concerns, and get unbiased information, from a live agent.
2. Travel agents give you more for your money.
Agents have access to deals and promotions travelers do not. From cruise lines to hotels to tours, suppliers know their top travel agents and slip them upgrades, bonuses, special offers and early entrance tickets that make their customers feel special.
3. Travelers are frustrated with online travel agencies.
Consumers are wising up. Online travel agencies (OT-As) often advertise one price and then tack on fees and other hidden charges, or restrictions and blackout dates in the fine print. And there is so much information out there – so many brands and new products – that the research is overwhelming. Among travelers who regularly seek information from an OT-As when planning a vacation, only 13% were typically booking their reservations on OT-As sites even in 2015, according to MMGY Global, compared to 36% in 2014.
4, Better customer service.
While OT-As have call centers to assist customers with basic site navigation, they offer little further support. Travel agents help during the booking process and stay with you to make sure all goes right. And when there is a problem, they are there to intervene—whether it’s a supplier who doesn’t deliver or an emergency that requires getting you out of harm’s way quickly.
5. Deep knowledge of the destination, and personal understanding of your interests.
Agents often specialize in niche markets, so they can offer even more insight into a specific destination or segment of travel, like LGBT or destination weddings. And they spend a little time getting to know the customer, so they can make recommendations tailored to what you want to do.
6. Travel agents’ customer base is skewing toward Millennial’s.
The percentage of travelers under the age of 35 who prefer to book their vacations through a travel agent increased 50% between 2014 and 2015, reports MMGY Global. They don’t have time to wade through all the options, and they understand there is only one chance to make a vacation perfect. Just as they hire an expert to do their taxes or maintain their garden, they want a knowledgeable professional to help them make this most important decision.