|Photo by Freeimages.com/Carlos Chavez|
The share of consumers booking through travel agents has climbed to a three-year high, according to a new study by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
ASTA has released the new “Best of Both Worlds: Quantifying How Travel Agents Save Consumers Time and Money” study, which was sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines.
The core objectives of the study, which reached more than 14,000 U.S. households, included finding patterns related to overall travel agent usage; factors related to how a traveler chooses a travel consultant; and for what occasions travelers use an agent.
According to the report, which was conducted by market research firm TNS Global, 22 percent of consumers booked through a travel agent in the past 12 months, the highest share reported in the past three years.
The report also found that Millennials are leading the way in both travel agent usage and likelihood to recommend their agents to friends and family. Additionally, when looking back on their past travel experiences, almost two-thirds of agent users said using one makes the overall trip experience better, with multiple other benefits of using a travel agent captured in the report.
“At this point, consumers have tried it all – they’ve booked online, they’ve gone direct, and they’ve used a travel agent,” said ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby. “This study dispels once and for all the myth that booking direct with suppliers or spending hours online yourself gets you a better deal or gives you a happier travel experience. In short, if you want a better travel experience, use an agent.”