U.K. Newspaper Says Agents Are Better Than OTAs

by Richard D’Ambrosio


The online travel market has had more than 20 years to enhance its technology and offer a wide range of services, but it hasn’t matured enough to take the place of human travel agents, says The Guardian, a United Kingdom newspaper and website.

In an article entitled, “Why Are Human Travel Agents Still So Much Better Than Websites?” author Alex Hern dissects how Skyscanner, a travel fare aggregator website and travel metasearch engine, can provide a comprehensive review of flight options and pricing — but it cannot replace the unique and important skills a human travel agent offers.

Hern shows how online travel agencies (OTAs) cannot demonstrate the best options for multiple-leg itineraries, or factor in higher hotel rates because a city might have a large convention in town.

Also, so much of the work is left to the traveler, forcing consumers to spend an inordinate amount of their own time to be precise in how they search for their vacation. To access the “vast amount of data” offered by Skyscanner, which is owned by Ctrip, the largest travel company in China, requires “an incredibly specific set of instructions before they’ll get to work,” Hern writes.

Hern estimated that if a consumer can travel any day of the week, “you might even have to run up to 49 separate searches.” Throw in another two possible cities a vacationer might want to visit, with two to three airport options, and “now you’re looking at almost 300 separate searches to find the cheapest holiday.”

This kind of work is better left for an experienced travel agent, Hern says: “In an age of fear over algorithms destroying jobs, the people are still beating the algorithms at the seemingly easily automatable job of checking databases of prices and places.”

He suggests “it might be worth considering a visit to your flesh-and-blood travel agent – at least, if you want anything complex from a holiday.”

  2
  0
Daily Top List

UK Cities Outside of London to Visit

1. Edinburgh

2. Glasgow

3. Newcastle

4. Cardiff

5. Bath

Source: HandLuggageOnly

 

TMR THIS WEEK
http://services.travelsavers.com/AMGService.svc/REST/GetImage?ImageID=b264632d-092e-e911-b4aa-782bcb66a2f2

Culinary Travel is Key Ingredient for Authentic Journeys

Cooking classes, local cuisine, and in-home dining experiences are what travelers are craving.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Trafalgar Celebrates Ten Years of Its ‘Be My Guest’ Program
Trafalgar Celebrates Ten Years of Its ‘Be My Guest’ Program

Savings are being offered on Italy itineraries to mark where the program that pairs travelers with locals first began.

A Roadmap for Cruise Group Booking Success
A Roadmap for Cruise Group Booking Success

Creating groups for cruise travel is certainly not new, but it’s still an unexplored path that many travel advisors are not tapping into. Here’s what to do.

Lessons Learned: Travel Advisors Share Their Biggest Booking Mistakes
Lessons Learned: Travel Advisors Share Their Biggest Booking Mistakes

From the best ways to handle payment details and deadlines to documentation and signed waivers, travel advisors give their top 10 tips for travel booking success.

How One Family’s Medical Emergency Reinforces Need for Travel Insurance
How One Family’s Medical Emergency Reinforces Need for Travel Insurance

A college student’s case of acute appendicitis on a cruise underscores the importance of acquiring travel insurance when traveling abroad.

World Travel Holdings Joins Travel Leaders Network
World Travel Holdings Joins Travel Leaders Network

World Travel Holdings, which includes Dream Vacations/CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. brands, aligns for the first time with an agency network. 

Five Tips on How to Have a Breakthrough in Your Travel Business in 2019
Five Tips on How to Have a Breakthrough in Your Travel Business in 2019

If you’re ready to jump up not one, but several levels, in your business this year, take a look at these empowering suggestions from an expert who knows the score.

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