Travel agents got another round of good press this week with an editorial in the Washingtonian touting the value of an agent to a well put together vacation.
We’ve been monitoring the increased consumer media interest in travel agents for over a year now, ever since a two-part blog series in Forbes in early 2012 kicked off a major conversation about the value travel agents represent to their clients.
But while those stories often focused on the personalized attention and complex planning agents can excel at, Washingtonian writer Sherri Dalphonse has found something most agents probably already know – that agents can help with trips of almost any complexity. Dalphonse had already had a good experience with an agent plotting out a three-week itinerary through New Zealand, but when booking a simpler one-week vacation in the Caribbean, she elected to go with an agent again.
“One reason, which is apparently becoming more common and boosting the business of travel agents: I was sick of sorting through TripAdvisor,” she writes.
TripAdvisor has also been in the news recently after a senior hotel executive at Accor was exposed posting fake reviews on the site talking up his own hotels and talking down those of his rivals. Consumer satisfaction in general with online travel search has been stagnant since as far back as 2002, which could also explain the rise of positive feelings toward human travel agents that can cut through the clutter.
There are also positive signs for the travel industry overall – just today, the Conference Board has reported that the Consumer Confidence Index is at a five-year high, just in time for the summer travel season.
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