While online travel postings frequently spur a consumer’s travel choices, travel agents still are a powerful source for individuals to be inspired and book their next trip, Skift editor Colin Nagy wrote last week.
He was spurred to write his column by his attempts to find The Dharmawangsa Jakarta hotel. Nagy “found that the hotel was so far buried underneath paid-for TripAdvisor listings, paid search and search engine optimization (SEO), etc that I would never have unearthed it” without word-of-mouth recommendations from his travel agent.
Nagy wrote that “for all of the talk of automation, digitization and personalization, I am reminded that the trusty old travel agent still has a very important role in the world. At their best, they can be an arbiter of taste, knowing hotel and airline products inside and out, and generally being that trusted filter that the Internet cannot in its current state.”
He wrote that online marketing requires lodging firms to engage in “a vicious battlefield” that “hurts the consumer trying to find the best possible experience for their money.”
“Now, all travel agents aren’t created equal,” Nagy noted, “but when you find a great one, there is a discernible improvement to your traveling life.”
In his column, Nagy praised CIRE Travel founder Eric Hrubant and his team for consistently helping him “find the best hotels in unfamiliar cities,” “understand what airline seat or product was better than the other” and navigate “a series of tough travel snarls quickly and easily.”