Travelers are happier when booking cities like Austin, TX, through agents. Photo: Argash
In a first-of-its-kind study, in which travelers provided feedback on their recent trips to America’s 50 most popular destinations, J.D. Power found that trips booked through a traditional travel agent generate a higher level of satisfaction than those that are not.
Assessing the customer experience based on six factors—activities; cost and fees; food and beverage; infrastructure; lodging; and travel/arrival—J.D. Power found that travelers rated their satisfaction at 845 on a 1,000-point scale when booking with an agent, a significant 5% increase over the 805 rating they gave to trips booked through other channels.
The 2016 Destination Experience Satisfaction Study ranked 50 cities, and found Las Vegas earned the highest index score, 827. Other high-ranked cities in the West include Oahu, Hawaii, with a score of 813, and San Diego with 812; in the Southwest, Austin, TX, earned a rating of 818, Dallas scored 811 and San Antonio, TX, scored 807; and in the South, Orlando topped the scoring with 815 points, followed by Miami and New Orleans in a tie at 814.
New York City was the highest Northeast/Mid Atlantic city, with a score of 805, followed by Boston with 789. Not a single Midwest region city scored above 800; tops there were Columbus with 799, Kansas City with 791 and Indianapolis with 789.
In other findings, J.D. Power reported that business travelers tend to be slightly more satisfied than vacationers (806 vs. 795, respectively). Satisfaction in the travel/arrival factor is higher among business travelers than among leisure travelers, because road warriors are more experienced travelers, J.D. Power proposed.
The 2016 Destination Experience Satisfaction Study is based on responses gathered between February and July 2016 from more than 26,000 travelers who visited a U.S. metropolitan area between December 2015 and July 2016. J.D. Seven percent of survey participants booked through a travel agent.