The Travel Agent Is Dead. Long Live The Travel Agent

 Could the travel agent be making a come back? We’ve often written about how they are disappearing from the British high street as holiday makers increasingly choose to go direct and book online.

Well, some travel agents are staging a fight back and appear to be doing brisk business. OK, so they are focused on the luxury end of the market. And naturally they’ve decided to give themselves a new name; travel designers (yes, we think it’s pretentious too!) but they are on the rise. And it’s interesting to see the reasons why.

Online booking sites assume you want the cheapest price

It’s true, the vast majority of visitors using these sites are searching for the cheapest deals. After all, it’s why many are called price comparison sites. But what if you don’t want the cheapest deal, but the most expensive? Some sites’ algorithms can get themselves into a real tizzy when asked this search question.

These high net worth travelers will further test the booking engine’s patience by making complex bookings comprising, maybe,  parties made up of multiple generations making multiple flights and booking into multiple hotels or villas where they’ll demand multiple extras. No wonder they want the services of a travel designer!

Luxury travelers want to go where few others have been

High net worth travelers are more likely to be, if not thrill seekers, then definitely experience seekers. (The ‘experiential travel’ segment was practically invented for them). So if you’re used to getting into clubs and schools that few other can, then it makes sense that you’ll want to visit or holiday in destinations and resorts that few other know about. These – sometimes remote – places may require complex itineraries which will tax most booking engines.

Technology tied millennials are too busy to book their holidays

It’s strange to think that millennials, whose professional and social lives are bound by using technology, are simply too busy to use it to book their own holidays. But in fact research suggests they are the fastest growing segment of travel agent users.

We think this probably makes sense. After all, if the average wait time before visitors navigate away from a website is just 10 seconds, then hanging on while a booking engine works out your best holiday deal is simply a ‘no no’.

Far better to phone someone, give them your order, then sit back and wait and do something else. A bit like how  they order their evening meal.




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