How Travel Agents' Preferred Booking Methods Are Changing

travel agentThe use of websites for bookings, primarily supplier-directs sites, continues to grow, according to ASTA, which released its eighth annual Supplier-Travel Agent Marketing Report. The study looks at trends in the supplier-travel agent relationship, motivation for choosing a supplier at point-of-sale, and favored agent booking channels by segment. 

“As suppliers have invested in more user friendly interfaces, agents have shifted booking practices, and are now using more direct supplier websites to serve clients, especially leisure clients," said ASTA CEO Zane Kerby. “ASTA’s Supplier-Travel Agent Marketing Report provides insight into how agent booking practices are evolving."  

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ASTA notes it has been tracking how travel agent members book products for eight years for the air, hotel, cruise, tour, and car rental segments. Changes in the booking methods used by segments shows a movement towards booking on supplier websites, ASTA said.

"The shift has been stronger for the segments where GDS bookings are traditionally low, cruise and tour. Suppliers should be aware of these shifts and make sure effective booking methods are available for agents online," ASTA reports. 

ASTA is providing a webinar on February 5th, “Boost Your Revenues by Understanding Travel Agents,” for supplier members that will highlight information from the Supplier-Travel Agent Relationship Marketing report. The webinar will also provide a demographic overview of both independent agents and retail leisure agents. ASTA supplier members can sign-up for the webinar at  

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The survey was conducted using the 2013 ASTA Research Family panel of agencies. The ASTA Research Family is comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers. The reply level indicates a 95 percent confidence rate and an error rate of +/- 4.7%.

ASTA’s Premium Members will receive the full report as part of their membership; travel agent members will receive a free summary of the report, but can also purchase the entire report for $99. The cost for ASTA member suppliers is $349 and $549 for non-members.