Why Are Travel Agents Still In Demand?
Travel agents. Remember them? You could call them or sit in one of their brick-and-mortar stores while they organized your holiday. Your whole holiday, if necessary. Then along came the internet and, worst of all, Covid…
But travel agents are still offering a service that many customers need.
What is a travel agent?
Travel agents, or advisors, are the link between customers and the holiday or travel they want to book. An agent advises you when you want to sort out a holiday or more general travel.
They book flights and accommodation. They often do the same for entertainment and leisure options at a resort or destination. Your important questions about passports, insurance, visas, car hire, and vaccinations can be answered. The latter is particularly relevant in an industry that suffered more than most during the pandemic.
The personal touch
If anything, the post-pandemic world has cemented the position of the travel agent. In the US, data from the American Society of Travel Advisors revealed that 76% of travel agents saw an increase in customers versus pre-pandemic times, and 81% said they were hearing from customers who had never used an agent. This suggests that people are reassured by the role of the agent as a trusted ‘counsellor’ in an uncertain world.
Travel agents can save you time. They offer a one-stop shop to people with busy lives. Okay, if you just need to book a flight or a hotel, that can be done quickly online. But what if you’re looking for an all-inclusive trip for 10 family members to the Caribbean where you need airport transfers to a hotel that has a kids’ club and a spa? And you want to be 90% certain that it won’t rain during your two-week stay. You could spend lots of online time researching.
Travel agents are for people who don’t want to spend hours analyzing trips, are maybe not seasoned travelers, or traveling in a big group that makes the economics and practicalities of a DIY booking too much to handle.
… and money
Value can also be a factor in favor of travel agents. Again, if you’re just booking a flight or a hotel stay then online searches provide quick and easy price comparisons. But if you want further information and arrangements then agents have connections to airlines, hotels, and tour guides, and access to seasonal deals and preferential pricing you’re unlikely to find yourself. They know about low-cost specials and bespoke experiences.
Talk to a pro
Professional expertise is another benefit of using a travel agent. It’s part of an agent’s job to keep up to date with developments in the industry. Whether people are looking to book adventure travel or a luxury beach escape an advisor has industry knowledge and contacts. They may have visited your desired location themselves. Online reviews are great but speaking to a person with local knowledge is even better.
Perhaps the main advantage of a travel agent is having someone to help if things go wrong when you’re away. You could miss a flight connection, fall ill, or end up in a hotel room that isn’t up to the expected standard. A travel agent can work on your behalf to correct things, so your trip isn’t ruined.
In an increasingly connected but impersonal world, travel agents provide the human touch that can make or break your holiday.