The vast majority of Americans (75 percent) 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 percent) 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.
“When it comes to booking a trip, there is so much that a travel agent can offer that the internet can’t,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president of AAA East Central. “Using their own personal experience and expertise to enhance the process, travel agents are able to ensure that anyone getting ready for their dream trip gets the biggest return on their travel investment.”
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 percent) would consider working with a travel agent for an international vacation, but just one-quarter (22 percent) would do so for a vacation within the United States.
“There tends to be a misconception about when travel agents should be consulted for booking a trip,” continued Powell. “Their expertise is valuable stateside, overseas – and anywhere a traveler’s heart wants to take them!”
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.
Been there, 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.
About the study:
AAA’s research findings are the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,002 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted August 23-26, 2018. This study has an average statistical error of ±3.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 80 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. Past news releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.