In a 21st Century world of apps and automation, planning a trip seems to be easier than ever before. However with the time-consuming task of fielding through unlimited choices of hotels, flights, and activities, the process can become overwhelming to handle alongside a busy work and home schedule. For many, the solution is to simply go back to basics and hire a travel agency. Taking a more traditional approach in allowing an expert to tackle the task of planning your business trip or vacation may just be the answer to all your travel troubles.
Why Travel Agencies?
Travel agencies began to pop up around the US following the commercial aviation boom of the 1920s. As the years progressed, suddenly travel agencies became a necessity, as the average person didn’t have the access or know-how to arrange for their own accommodations. Almost one-hundred years later, consumers have gotten used to the idea of booking their own accommodations by way of websites or apps that suggest handling the arrangements yourself is the easiest way to go. While being a viable solution for some, the travel agent alternative still proves to be an option worth exploring. There is still a growing market for travel agencies, despite the competition from self-booking technology. MMGY Global conducted research in 2015 showing that 34% of Millennial travelers used an offline travel agency, and 39% said they would do so again in the near future. So what could be continuing this demand for a travel representative in the face of supposedly easier technology solutions?
The answer involves many reasons, most revolving around convenience. Since travel agents need to stay competitive in the industry, the cost of hiring their services has dropped tremendously. Technological aspects of booking have not only impacted consumers, but also agents. They too have acquired better resources which help reduce the cost of running their businesses. Travel agency fees are much more reasonable in recent years, making the decision to hire a middle-man all the more feasible. In addition to affordability, another reason the industry is thriving ironically stems from the same element trying to overtake it. The information age has ushered in an endless amount of reviews, testimonials, and ratings for each and every type of accommodation one can imagine. Attempting to sift through this flurry of information for relevance can be an inundating task. Travel agents are certified to be knowledgeable about the locations they work with, and only profit from their clients enjoying their trips. Their first-hand recommendations can be a great way to enjoy your destination without having to do dozens of hours of research. This is especially helpful for complicated trips with multiple destinations, where structuring departures, arrivals, and check-ins can involve a great deal of time and energy.
The travel agent industry also has a symbiotic relationship with the locations they work with, where deals and VIP perks are available to pass along to their clients. Agents are able to send business to these destinations in exchange for their guests getting exclusive treatment. This has also shown to be especially valuable for destinations affected by a natural disaster. While many guests are quick to reconsider travel to these regions, thinking the area won’t be conducive to travelling, agents are able to provide realistic details like recent photos or live webcam links to their resort, helping re-build clients’ confidence in their trip. Travel agents working with Caribbean destinations are credited with helping tourism return after Hurricanes Maria and Irma, drawing well-needed business to the area.
The human connection between client and agent seems to be the main reason travel agency businesses continue to flourish. The convenience of being able to speak with an expert face-to-face seems to outweigh that of being able to book through technological means. Whether it’s a quick business trip or an extended family vacation, the industry savvy of a travel agent may just be the perfect way to ensure a flawless travel experience.
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