Travelers in the U.S. still find great value in travel agents for booking their leisure travel plans, according to a recent study commissioned by Galileo International. The findings from the June 2005 study show that nearly 7 out of 10 U.S. adults (68%) are more comfortable booking travel plans through a traditional travel agent.
According to the poll, an advantage to more than half of U.S. adults is when an agent asks questions to better understand a travelers needs (53%) and their willingness to help customize itineraries to best fit those needs (52%), which may clearly demonstrate a comfort in the human element when booking travel. Whether it is the desire to visit multiple destinations, arrive and depart from different locations, or requiring special amenities at a hotel, travelers in the U.S. often have complex itineraries during a vacation. 49% of U.S. adults found an agent’s ability to book complex itineraries that are hard to book online as another driving factor in comfort level when working with a traditional agent to plan a vacation.
According to the research one of the perceived advantages for using a travel agent is that in a world where the traveler’s needs are becoming more complex and diverse - 65% of adults stated the ability to sit down in person with someone to discuss plans is a “must have” in booking a vacation. Additional services considered “must haves” for a traditional agency include:
á The ability to book all your travel plans, including air, lodging and car rental - 76%
á Access to real-time flight and hotel information - 73%
á Advanced knowledge about various destinations - 70%
“The study confirms that travel agents are still held in high regard by many travelers, due to their personal service, knowledge, flexibility and choice of vacation offers.”
“At Galileo we recognize the importance of the agency channel and are committed to working with our agency partners to ensure their continued success. We provide innovative tools, technology and content to help power an agency’s business,” stated Eileen Kennedy, vice president, Marketing, the Americas, Galileo. “In addition, we will continue to invest in solutions to supply agencies with the information and resources necessary to allow for differentiation and growth.”