Travel Agents Make A Comeback: Millennials Top Audience
When is the last time you booked a trip through a travel agent? Chances are you book directly through airlines and hotels, or look to sites like Expedia, Kayak or Trip Advisor to help you make your decision.
But a new study shows more and more people are turning to travel agents and advisors for convenience and knowledge. A report by the American Society of Travel Agents surveyed 14,000 U.S. households more people are turning to travel agents. And according to the same report the generation using this service the most are busy millennials who don’t have time to sort through thousands of online reviews, and have the cash to spend to ensure their trip is planned perfectly. The report found that more than 30 percent of millennials said they used an agency in the 12 months prior and almost half would recommend using a travel agent to friends or family.
“There are a few different reasons that people are turning to travel agents again. The Internet is absolutely flooded with information and travel advertisements. Travelers don’t even know where to start because everyone is claiming to be the cheapest and the best,” says Samantha Hartman, a Travel Consultant with Protravel International LLC.
“A travel agent can help their client sort through all of their options. They can make solid recommendations based on the clients’ interests and professional experience. They also ensure that their clients are getting the best value for their money.”
Beyond the number of options to sort through, Hartman, a millennial herself, also says a travel agent can take the hassle out of planning.
“Many young professionals are connected to their jobs 24/7, so they are beginning to lean on the services offered by other professionals. Working with a travel agent is like working with an interior designer. (Like an interior designer) a travel agent does the work for you… and you reap the benefits of a professional, job-well-done,” says Hartman.
Mahesh Chaddah, who co-founded Reservations.com, agrees with Hartman that millennials are the fastest growing client component.
“Millennials are known for shaking up the travel industry and their return to travel agents stems from their desire to talk to travel experts to plan all the ins-and-outs of their perfect trip and the rise of experimental travel. Essentially, travel agents are the gatekeepers to their extreme adventures,” Chaddah says.
Chaddah is also seeing another sector using travel agencies however.
“Along with Millennials, the luxury sector and (people booking) multiple destination trips, are turning to travel agents to not only help them find the best deals, but to save them hours of research and trip planning,” Chaddah says.
And the catalyst for this change in how travel is being booked?
“Although there has been enormous advancement in automation, the industry is seeing a trend to bring back the human element for more curated bespoke experiences and provide on-demand personal travel,” Chaddah concludes.