46% of Americans Think Travel Agents Add Value to Trips

by | 4 minute read

The vast major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans (75%) would con­sid­er work­ing with a trav­el agent to plan their vaca­tions, while some 27 mil­lion trav­el­ers plan to do so just with­in the next year, accord­ing to new research from AAA Trav­el. The out­look remains pos­i­tive for years to come, with younger trav­el­ers embrac­ing the exper­tise of trav­el agents. In fact, mil­len­ni­als are just as like­ly as baby boomers to say they are plan­ning to use a trav­el agent for a trip in the next 12 months.

Despite con­tin­u­al advances in tech­nol­o­gy that allow trav­el­ers to plan and book vaca­tions for them­selves online, near­ly half of Amer­i­cans (46%) feel that work­ing with a trav­el agent adds val­ue to their trip. Trav­el­ers' top rea­sons for con­sid­er­ing whether to con­sult a trav­el agent are to ensure a smooth expe­ri­ence on more com­pli­cat­ed and expen­sive trips, and for rec­om­men­da­tions and help arrang­ing spe­cial activ­i­ties and expe­ri­ences.

"Whether it's a once-in-a-life­time vaca­tion, first time over­seas or an annu­al fam­i­ly get­away, trav­el­ers want to make the most of out of any trip and are rely­ing on trav­el agents to ensure that hap­pens," said Bill Suther­land, senior vice pres­i­dent of AAA Trav­el. "Although trav­el­ers today have myr­i­ad ways in which to book their vaca­tions, they rec­og­nize the val­ue of work­ing with a pro­fes­sion­al, expe­ri­enced trav­el agent to make sure there is a return on their trav­el invest­ment and a life­time of mem­o­ries to be made."

Although trav­el­ers increas­ing­ly rec­og­nize the val­ue of trav­el agents, there is still more oppor­tu­ni­ty for vaca­tion­ers to reap the full ben­e­fits. Near­ly half of trav­el­ers (49%) would con­sid­er work­ing with a trav­el agent for an inter­na­tion­al vaca­tion, but just one-quar­ter (22%) would do so for a vaca­tion with­in the Unit­ed States.

"Even when stay­ing state­side, trav­el­ers can ben­e­fit sig­nif­i­cant­ly from work­ing with a trav­el agent," con­tin­ued Suther­land. "AAA rec­om­mends con­sult­ing a knowl­edge­able trav­el agent before start­ing to plan your next vaca­tion."

Regard­less of whether or not Trav­el Plan­ning Clients decide to work with a trav­el agent, they're like­ly to sup­ple­ment the trav­el plan­ning ser­vices with their own research. Last year, 55.7% of this audi­ence used a search engine to research a prod­uct or ser­vice they were con­sid­er­ing for pur­chase, accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN. How­ev­er, only 20.7% go past the first page of results. This audi­ence is also 82% more like­ly than oth­er adults to find adver­tis­ing on social net­works help­ful to them, so they may turn to the net­works they're active on, such as Face­book (83.3%), YouTube (64.1%) and Insta­gram (45.2%), for trav­el ideas.

While more than half of Amer­i­cans would con­sid­er work­ing with a trav­el agent to find the best deals, secure upgrades and addi­tion­al mon­ey-sav­ing trav­el perks, AAA encour­ages trav­el­ers to keep in mind these addi­tion­al ben­e­fits:

  • Save time. Trav­el agents can take the guess­work out of research­ing and eval­u­at­ing the many options that are avail­able to trav­el­ers, sav­ing time and the has­sle that often come with vaca­tion plan­ning.
  • Expert rec­om­men­da­tions. A knowl­edge­able trav­el agent will make per­son­al­ized rec­om­men­da­tions and offer tips on des­ti­na­tions, what to see and do while on vaca­tion, the best and worst times to trav­el, and much more.
  • They've been there and done that. Trav­el agents are often well-trav­eled, hav­ing vis­it­ed the des­ti­na­tions and expe­ri­enced the vaca­tions they rec­om­mend to trav­el­ers.
  • Reduce stress. Trav­el agents can help with all the details (advis­ing trav­el­ers on every­thing from pass­port renew­al require­ments to rec­om­men­da­tions for obtain­ing an Inter­na­tion­al Dri­ving Per­mit before trav­el­ing over­seas) tak­ing the stress out of the process.
  • Help with the unex­pect­ed. Between weath­er delays, nat­ur­al dis­as­ters, flight can­cel­la­tions, lost lug­gage and much more, a lot can hap­pen on vaca­tion. Trav­el agents act as the traveler's advo­cate in the event some­thing goes wrong, help­ing nav­i­gate the chal­lenge of mak­ing any nec­es­sary itin­er­ary changes.

Trav­el agents can reach Trav­el Plan­ning Clients through var­i­ous dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing for­mats. Last year, accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN, 57.1% of this audi­ence took action after receiv­ing an email adver­tise­ment and 54.9% were moti­vat­ed by either text ads or adver­tise­ments on their mobile smart­phone apps. They're also 33% more like­ly than oth­er adults to click on text link ads on web­sites. To sup­ple­ment dig­i­tal adver­tise­ments, TV can also be uti­lized since 69.6% of this audi­ence took action after see­ing a TV com­mer­cial last year.

Audi­enceS­CAN data is avail­able for your appli­ca­tions and dash­boards through the Sales­Fu­el API. Media com­pa­nies and agen­cies can access Audi­enceS­CAN data through the Audi­enceS­CAN Reports in AdMall.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Ana­lyst, spe­cial­iz­ing in audi­ence intel­li­gence, at Sales­Fu­el. She also helps to main­tain the major accounts and co-op intel­li­gence data­bas­es. As the hold­er of a Bach­e­lors degree in Eng­lish from The Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty, Rachel helps the rest of the Sales­Fu­el team with their writ­ing needs.