The importance of travel agents and why they still matter
In today’s increasingly connected, digitized world, travel websites and apps ease access to travel planning and booking. As speed and availability in ecommerce increase, travel bookings become easier and more convenient. So why would anyone pay a professional travel planner, when everything is available online? The increased availability has made it difficult for business travellers to compare the various offers that are available online. Corporate travelers do not have the time to scroll through web pages.
In the May 2015 issue of Conde Nast Traveler the following statement was published: “Travel websites that promise to narrow the world seem to do just the opposite. And although there’s an app for nearly everything, there are still some experiences only a human can make happen…[a travel specialist] will pull off the impossible, plan a better trip than you ever could, and spare you the logistics. Put simply, they’ll nail it and you’ll have a better vacation because of them.”
With that in mind, the following five reasons show you why travel agents are still important:
Time is money
According to a study by Google, the average traveler looks at five videos and undertakes 380 web page visits through 34 different searches over a period of two month. Hence, travel bookings are very time-consuming. Booking via a travel agents can certainly save time and improve the overall travel experience. Travel professionals reduce stress and time-constraints by making the corporate traveler’s journey as smooth as possible.
Bookings via travel agents can also be cheaper than bookings from several different providers as agents can create packages specifically for the corporate traveler including accommodation, flights and car rentals.
Expertise is king
Especially for complex travel requests, travel agents are worth a mint. They have connections to make sure everything goes well. Sometimes corporate travel has very specific needs, as business travelers must adjust to unknown and complex destinations. Travel agencies know how to find a hotel with the right conference room capacity close to the airport or the city center. Therefore, travel agents function as a knowledge base.
Let’s be honest, problems and disruptions are part of most journeys. From lost luggage to train or flight delays and errors in accommodation bookings, travel agents solve these challenges very fast because it is their daily business. This is extremely important for corporate travelers as they often spend very short time spans in one location and can therefore not afford complications or delays within their travel itineraries.
Business trips often need to be planned month prior to the actual travel date to ensure that various participants from across the globe are able to attend the meeting. Agents can handle all the logistics for larger groups and complex itineraries. They have knowledge about the destination and can recommend the best places to stay, dine out and conduct meetings. Of course, travelers could find these information themselves by examining social media and review websites, however, this would be very time-consuming.
For many corporate travelers using travel agents has become essential to their travel process. What will probably surprise you is that the American Society of Travel Agents found out that Millennials are more likely to use travel agents than any other U.S. demographic. “Millennials are leading the way in travel agent usage, 30% have used a travel agent in the last 12 months, and they’re also most likely to recommend agents to a friend.” Therefore, travel agents are here to stay. The fact of the matter is this: paying a travel professional who has contacts and gives advice makes sense and can save time and money.
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