ASTA Study: Travelers Understand the Value of Agents
A newly released ASTA survey bolsters what mountains of anecdotal evidence has long suggested: The lion’s share of leisure travelers who use agents truly understand their value, believing they deliver a higher caliber vacation experience than they’d be able to arrange on their own. These travelers contend that agents take the stress out of vacation planning, have access to better deals and will come to their aid if something goes amiss.
The 2015 Travel Decision Making survey was based on answers from 3,000 U.S. consumers who were roughly divided between agent users and non-users. Respondents earned $50,000 or more annually and took at least one leisure trip in the last 12 months.
“This study confirms what we found in another independent study we commissioned last year – when you use a travel agent, you have a better experience,” said Zane Kerby, ASTA’s president and CEO.
Notably, the survey found that 92 percent of those consumers who used a travel agent planned to do again, with 50 percent saying they planned to increase their use of agents in the future.
Seventy-two percent of those who used agents said they believed agents make the vacation planning process easy, 62 percent said agents would resolve problems should they occur, 68 percent said they were experienced at booking special trips; 61 percent said they possess the knowledge required to plan a quality vacation; and 59 percent said they were able to obtain better deals.
Also, 78 percent of respondents who used agents said they were highly influenced by their hotel recommendations, and 77 percent said the same in respect to tour packages.
Another finding of note: Those respondents who used agents were younger and more affluent, and comprised more of males, racial minorities, frequent travelers and solo travelers. Forty-one percent were Millennials and 30 percent Generation Xers.
Those agents who did not use agents said that choice had less do with the competency of agents and more to do with self sufficiency and the ease of booking one’s own travel.
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