New research has confirmed what most of us already know: travel agents are here to stay. In fact, three-quarters of Americans say they would consider working with a travel agent, while some 27 million travelers are planning to do just that within the next year, according to a recent study conducted by AAA Travel.
Value is the key factor respondents cited when asked why they would opt to use the services of a travel advisor versus going online to book travel themselves, with nearly half (46 percent) identifying this as their motivation.
The top reasons travelers gave for considering whether to consult a travel agent were to ensure a smooth experience on more complicated and expensive trips, and for recommendations and help arranging special activities and experiences. Other reasons mentioned included a travel agent’s ability to find the best deals, secure upgrades, and provide for money-saving perks.
“Although travelers today have numerous ways to book their vacations, they recognize the value of working with a professional, experienced travel agent to make sure there is a return on their travel investment and a lifetime of memories,” said Robert Sinclair, Jr., AAA Northeast’s manager of media relations.
The study also found that younger travelers are embracing the expertise of a travel agent, with Millennials saying they are just as likely as Baby Boomers to use a travel agent for a trip in the next 12 months.
In case your clients need to be reminded, AAA has offered up some of the other benefits to using a travel agent:
Time-saver. Travel agents can take the guesswork out of researching and evaluating the many options that are available to travelers, saving time and the hassle that often come with vacation planning.
Expert recommendations. A knowledgeable travel agent can make personalized recommendations and offer tips on destinations, what to see and do while on vacation, the best and worst times to travel, and more.
They’ve been there and done that. Travel agents are often well-traveled, having visited the destinations and experienced the vacations they recommend to travelers.
Reduce stress. Travel agents can help with all the details, advising travelers on everything from passport renewal requirements to recommendations for obtaining an international driving permit before traveling overseas, taking the stress of the process.
Help with the unexpected. Between weather delays, natural disasters, flight cancellations, lost luggage and more, a lot can happen on vacation. Travel agents act as the traveler’s advocate in the event something goes wrong, helping to navigate the challenge of making any necessary itinerary changes.
The results of the research came from a telephone survey AAA conducted in August with over 1,000 adults living in the Continental U.S.