If you think travel agents are going the way of the dodo - and we don’t mean going to Mauritius, as many of them are going there - then perhaps the results of this survey will sway you otherwise.
From the land that gave birth to travel start-ups and the sort of technology that was supposed to make travel agents obsolete, the US, comes research that shows just how healthy (and resilient) travel agents - be they bricks and mortar, mobile or online - actually are.
The data, which comes from a study by the States’ largest motoring and leisure travel organisation, AAA Travel, reveals that the vast majority of Americans (75%) would consider using a travel agent to plan their holidays. According to the study, some 27 million US travellers also plan to do so in the next year.
Perhaps surprisingly, the research also reveals that younger travellers are embracing travel agents too, with millennials just as likely as baby boomers to use a travel agent for a trip over the coming 12 months. This is despite the advances in travel planning and booking technology.
With nearly half (46%) of the American respondents saying that a agent added value to a trip, travellers’ top reasons for considering the services of a professional related to ensuring a “smooth experience on more complicated and expensive trips, and for recommendations and help arranging special activities and experiences”.
“Whether it's a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, first time overseas or an annual family getaway, travellers want to make the most of out of any trip and are relying on travel agents to ensure that happens," AAA Travel senior Vice President Bill Sutherland said.
"Although travellers today have myriad ways in which 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 to be made."
Like in Australia, many travellers (22%) Stateside would consider using a travel agent for domestic trips as well as travel abroad.
"Even when staying stateside, travellers can benefit significantly from working with a travel agent," said Sutherland.
"AAA recommends consulting a knowledgeable travel agent before starting to plan your next vacation."
Subscription successful! Thank you for subscribing.