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ASTA Survey Reveals Consumer Preferences for Agents

September 9, 2008 By: George Dooley


The 2008 Travel Agent Usage and Fee Sensitivity Study for Travel Agent and Premium Members, released by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), found that, despite the emergence of online travel websites, many consumers continue to seek out the counsel of a travel agent when looking for new travel ideas and purchasing travel that involves a more complex itinerary. The study also found that many consumers are willing to pay service fees, but the percentage differed based on gender, income and the travel segment. 

Knowing this, agencies can implement better marketing techniques that reach the type of consumer who is inclined to invest in the professional services of an agent. The study, will be available at www.asta.org.

"This study looks at consumers' views of travel agents, the many reasons consumers use travel agents, the service fees they are willing to pay and what percentage would continue using a travel agent if new fees were instituted," said Cheryl Hudak, ASTA president and CEO. "This kind of information in the hands of our members will help them determine if charging service fees is right for their business, whether they are charging the right amount in service fees and how they can better serve their clients based on gender, income bracket and age."

ASTA, working in conjunction with D.K. Shifflet & Associates, Ltd. (DKS&A) to conduct the survey, polled more than 1,000 consumers who were at least 18 years old and had used a travel agent within the last five years. Participants were grouped into three age categories: 18-34, 35-54 and 55 and over. Participants were also asked to select a household income bracket: less than $75,000 annually; $75,000-$100,000; $100,000 - $150,000 and $150,000 or more. ASTA's goal was to examine consumers' current attitudes toward travel agents and service fees given the numerous changes the travel industry has experienced in recent years, such as the emergence of online travel websites, among others.

The 2008 ASTA Travel Agent Usage and Price Sensitivity Study was conducted online in March 2008 using e-Rewards' consumer panel; the survey consisted of 16 closed-end questions. A summary of the study is available for members on ASTA.org. The full report will be available for purchase for $1,499 this fall.


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