Six Reasons Travel Agents Are Back Stronger Than Ever

by Jessica Montevago
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. “The tips we can give them, the advice, those things you just can’t get booking online,” says travel professional Diane Bower, at CruzDiva Travel in Huntersville, NC.

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. And research shows they save customers an average $452 per trip.

3. Travelers are frustrated with online travel agencies.
Consumers are wising up. Online travel agencies (OTAs) 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 OTA when planning a vacation, only 13% were typically booking their reservations on OTA sites even in 2015, according to MMGY Global, compared to 36% in 2014. (Note MMGY’s new research will be coming out later today. Stay tuned for an update.)

4, Better customer service.
While OTAs 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. Shawn Fitzpatrick, manager of Marlin Travel in Ontario, says suppliers work with his agency on a case-by-case basis, and often “help us out when needed.” And with an agent, “you have someone advocating for you,” says Stefanie DiBernardo, travel advisor at Contrino Travel, Inc., in Staten Island, NY.

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. “It’s almost like your best friend is booking a trip for you,” says DiBernardo

6. Travel agents’ customer base is skewing toward Millennials.
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.

  29
  3
Tip of the Day

The cruise experience starts the moment a guest books their cruise. It won’t finish until they are back at home after their vacation. Many things happen in between. Airports, flights, transfers, terminals, embarkation, life onboard, ports of call, shore excursions, disembarkation, etc. None of us, alone, is in a position to guarantee a front-to-end amazing experience. But together, we can.

Pierfrancesco Vago
MSC Cruises

Daily Top List

Tips for Traveling with Gifts this Holiday Season

1. Do not wrap your gifts before traveling.

2. If they are wrapped, put gifts in a checked bag.

3. Don’t forget to check airline baggage fees.

4. Consider putting presents in gift bags.

5. Make sure to check TSA restrictions.

Source: This Is Insider

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=0dc070f2-85e6-e811-ba59-782bcb66a2f2

Beyond Booking Travel: Where the True Impact Lies

In an industry that advances thanks to the traveling public’s leisure choices, some travel players are doing their part to ignite positive change that will have long-lasting effects.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Travel Industry Assesses Impact from Midterm Elections
Travel Industry Assesses Impact from Midterm Elections

Top Washington, D.C.-based associations begin to chart the impact on travel.

Paying to Play: Travel Agents Up 2019 Advertising Budgets
Paying to Play: Travel Agents Up 2019 Advertising Budgets

Lainie Melnick uses paid advertising in the local newspaper to beat a tough competitor, while Gary Smith’s paid Facebook ads helped grow his business by 37 percent. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

How Can Travel Agents Protect Client Relationships with Hotels?
How Can Travel Agents Protect Client Relationships with Hotels?

What you need to know about executing an agreement that tells hotel management that you are bringing them a business opportunity and you expect to be treated respectfully.

Cutting Through the Perplexity: Final Thoughts for Travel Agents
Cutting Through the Perplexity: Final Thoughts for Travel Agents

The adoption and complexity of the use of artificial intelligence in the travel marketing process may well reinforce the value for consumers of using a travel advisor.

Will Pennsylvania’s New Hotel Tax Law Ensnare Some Travel Agents?
Will Pennsylvania’s New Hotel Tax Law Ensnare Some Travel Agents?

The state recently passed a law requiring “booking agents” to apply state taxes to a traveler’s full lodging purchase including markups and service fees.

Four Pointers on ‘Telling and Selling’ Travel
Four Pointers on ‘Telling and Selling’ Travel

Travel advisors must master the art of listening to the client to determine their needs and wants. Then the ‘telling and selling’ takes over.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tauck