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Good news for travel agents this morning, courtesy of MMGY Global’s 2016 Portrait of the American Traveler (POAT): according to the study, travel agent usage hit a six-year high in 2016.
The POAT is a nationally representative survey of 2,948 U.S. adults, who have taken at least one overnight trip of 75 miles or more from home during the previous 12 months. It includes 2,134 households with an annual income between $50,000 and $124,999; 644 households with an annual income between $125,000 and $249,999; and 170 households with an annual income of more than $250,000. Data was collected in February 2016.
Also good to know: one-third of Millennial travelers are active users of travel agents, a number that’s up 19 points from 2011 and 12 points from 2014. Additionally, travelers who use travel agents report an average spend of $8,405 on vacations during the past 12 months, and they intend to spend $8,938 during the next 12 months, over twice as much as travelers who don’t use travel agents. 59 percent of the vacations taken by travel agent users are to new destinations, compared to only 31 percent of the vacations taken by those who don’t use them.
Overall, travelers are considering fewer types of sources when booking, MMGY reports. Of the 26.6 combined types of sources considered throughout vacation planning, only 12 percent are considered during booking. Mobile continues to grow as a source, particularly among Millennials — four times as many Millennials as Boomers booked at least one travel service through a smartphone app. Fourteen percent of affluent travelers booked at least one travel service through a smartphone app, up 8 points from 2013 and 4 points from 2014 and 2015.