ASTA Study Finds Travel Agents Save Customers Money, Time

Image: Photo courtesy of Thinkstock (Thinkstock)
Image: Photo courtesy of Thinkstock (Thinkstock)
Donald Wood
by Donald Wood
Last updated: 1:28 PM ET, Mon May 2, 2016

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has released the results of a new study that reveals travel agents save customers an average of $452 and four hours of travel planning time per trip.

The study on the influence of travel agents on customers was called "Best of Both Worlds: Quantifying How Travel Agents Save Consumers Time and Money," and was funded by Carnival Corporation.

Some findings of the study: 47 percent of consumers polled booked travel through supplier websites over the last year, around 63 percent of travelers said using an agent made their overall trip experience better and another 69 percent stated that agents save them time in planning and booking.

READ MORE: ASTA Presents 2016 Global Travel Advocate Award

The study found that travelers who didn't use an agent wanted to do it themselves, but the results also showed 47 percent of those surveyed said they would consider using a travel agent if it could save them money and help them avoid mistakes.

The ASTA said the full survey will be available on its official website by May 30.

"We couldn't hold back the good news, and that is that travel agent usage is at its highest level since we began commissioning independent consumer research three years ago," ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said in a statement. "At this point, consumers have tried it all. They've booked online, they've gone direct, and they've used a travel agent."

"This study dispels the myth that booking direct with suppliers or spending hours online yourself gets you a better deal, or gives you a happier travel experience," Kerby said. "Consumers told TNS Global that if you want a better travel experience, use an agent. We want to say 'thank you' to our members all over the globe for all you do every day to advise and protect your customers."

READ MORE: ASTA Rolls Out Course on 'Becoming A Travel Agent'

ASTA has released the findings of the study in honor of National Travel and Tourism Week (May 1-7) and Travel Agent Appreciation Day (May 4). In addition, the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) has declared the month of May "National Travel Consultant Month."

When the full results of the survey are released later this month, they will be found at the ASTA's official website.

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