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

“It’s too easy to get complacent. Take the time to travel as much as possible, to experience things and to understand the nuances, so you never start losing that passion.” - Mark Simões, Travel Advisor

Daily Top List

Best Movies That Inspire Travel

1. One Week

2. Before Sunrise, Sunset, and Midnight Series

3. In Bruges

4. Romancing the Stone

5. Up in the Air

Source: theplanetD

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
How to Find a Great Independent Contractor for Your Travel Agency
How to Find a Great Independent Contractor for Your Travel Agency

Business is booming in 2019 — and more travel agencies than ever are looking for help. Here are some tips from both sides of the table about how to find and keep a great IC.

Personality Is Key to Crafting a Compelling Personal Brand
Personality Is Key to Crafting a Compelling Personal Brand

If you were a car, what type of car would you be? It’s not a crazy question. The car you drive usually reflects your personality, and understanding your personality is essential to creating your personal brand.

Why You Need an NDA When Selling Your Business
Why You Need an NDA When Selling Your Business

If there is no non-disclosure agreement in place, the information you share with prospective buyers can be provided to others without limit, putting your business and privacy at risk.

Can Advisors Sell Travel Through Instagram?
Can Advisors Sell Travel Through Instagram?

A favorite social media network for travel bloggers, influencers and professional advisors, Instagram is trying to become an ecommerce platform.

Big Changes Coming to Out-of-Country Travel Health Insurance Coverage for Canadians
Big Changes Coming to Out-of-Country Travel Health Insurance Coverage for Canadians

Ontario will no longer cover out-of-country travel health insurance. Here are answers to three important questions that impact travel advisors in Ontario – and across Canada.

Apple Leisure Group Addresses Travel Advisor Concerns
Apple Leisure Group Addresses Travel Advisor Concerns

Apple has named a chief human resources officer, to help blend the corporate cultures to better unite all of the brands under the OneALG.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks