Shapiro // © 2016 TravelAge West
Last month, I wrote about the preliminary results of a consumer survey sponsored by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and Carnival Corporation & Plc that reported that travel agents save consumers an average of $452 and four hours of time spent travel planning. Now, ASTA is releasing more information about that survey, and the results are quite intriguing.
To begin with, while using a travel agent for leisure-trip planning is reported to be at 23 percent (the highest it has been in three years), the use of an agent increases with income across all age groups. In other words, the wealthier a traveler is, the more likely he or she is to use the services of an agent.
Also, millennials are more likely to use an agent than any other demographic.
According to ASTA, 30 percent of millennials said they used a travel agent in the last year, and 45 percent said they would recommend an agent to friends.
Millennials’ interest in using an agent is especially pertinent to this issue’s cover story, “A Leg Up.” In the story, we review several itinerary-management apps for agents and share some of the best features. These apps are fast becoming essential tools to increase productivity and make travel planning more effective for clients and agents alike. Travel apps are a natural fit for digitally minded millennials, and agents who use this new technology have a better chance of attracting this huge market.
It’s also a good bet that upscale clients are generally digitally savvy — and they value personal service, which is a main feature of many of these apps.
This means that these travel apps can assist with two of the most important markets for agents: millennials and upscale clients.
“Right now, advisors see these apps as a luxury,” says Signature Travel Network’s Karen Yeates in the story. “I want them to see it as something that’s not optional, but a necessary way of connecting with clients … It takes service to the next level.”
Given all that these apps do, agents simply can’t afford to ignore this technology. How many times have we heard that the future of the internet is mobile? Well, you need to stay relevant in that environment — or another agent will gladly take your spot.