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Report Shows Agents Use the Internet MoreApril 26, 2006 By: Peggy Cope Travel Agent
ASTA's newest Technology and Marketing Survey Report (formerly the Automation Report) shows that travel agents are using the Internet more for research, bookings and communications. "It is a common misconception that travel agents don't use the Internet to book travel," said Kathryn W. Sudeikis, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. "Agents rely heavily on the Internet to correspond with their clients and to obtain information that enhances their ability to help consumers make educated travel choices." In fact, 100 percent of agencies surveyed have Internet access at their offices. Owners and managers report they spend an average of 17.4 hours on the Internet each week, and frontline agents spend an estimated 16.4 hours a week on the Internet. Virtually all agents have conducted online research. Most often, they are searching for information on destinations, maps, weather and directions and information on travel suppliers. More than three out of four agents also use the Web to compare Web-only fares to the prices found in their GDSs. Nearly 83 percent of ASTA agencies report they have booked directly on suppliers' Web sites without using their GDS or calling the supplier in question. On average, ASTA agencies book 20.7 percent of total bookings through Web sites, and tour packages continue to be the number-one product booked online, followed by airline tickets and hotel reservations. To purchase the report, visit [www.astanet.com/about/research.asp]; the price is $25 for ASTA agent members, $250 for Allied members and $350 for non-members.