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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Survey finds travel agent users more satisfied with travel experience

The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) today announced the release of its new study, Value of Travel Agents, which was sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines.  The primary objective of this study was to measure the value of the travel agency channel and to show whether working with travel agents enhances the travel experience. And the results confirmed just that, and more. 

Findings from the Value of Travel Agents study, which was conducted by MMGY Global, discovered that over half of Millennial (59%), Xer (53%) and Boomer (58%) leisure travelers who used travel agents believe that vacations planned with travel agents were better than those organized without their assistance. Not surprisingly, consumers that use an agent travel more (average 4.7 trips) than consumers that don’t use a travel agent (average 3.6 trips).  

“The Value of the Travel Agent study shows that people who use a travel agent are more likely to be satisfied with their trip.  The research also provides insight into how and where travel agents can expand their businesses." said ASTA CEO Zane Kerby. “ASTA thanks Carnival Cruise Lines for sponsoring this important research."  

The study also found other interesting and positive results. Use of traditional travel agents appears to be growing. The study found that thirteen percent of U.S. travelers used a traditional travel agent in the past year, which is up from eleven percent a few years ago. Of the leisure travelers who did not use travel agents in the past 12 months, forty-one percent indicated they were open to using one in the future. 

The study was conducted by a third party, MMGY Global, who has extensive experience surveying consumers on the subject of travel.  MMGY Global authors the annual Portrait of American Travelers®.  The survey results were based on responses from 8,338 travelers who have been on at least one leisure trip requiring overnight accommodations during the past 12 months. There were 3,243 respondents who have been on at least one business trip requiring overnight accommodations during the past 12 months. All respondents were screened to ensure they had an annual household income of more than $50,000.

ASTA members will be given access to a summary of the findings, access to a member-only webinar on Apr. 9 and as a list of actionable items to help them market their businesses to consumers. The final report, which is 270 pages long, contains additional detail and insights that suppliers and travel professionals may find relevant when developing their marketing plans. It can be purchased at ASTA.org as of March 13th.

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