Online booking has been an extremely popular means to purchase tickets and hotels for many, many years. Sites such as Expedia, Priceline, CheapOAir, among others, have replaced real, living, breathing people. Why? Because us humans are not perfect. As such, we have been replaced by algorithmic machines.
However, the popularity of human travel agents are coming back—the old ways are becoming new again!
MMGY Global, a travel marketing agency, released a survey report that showed 32 percent of travelers now go to direct provider websites such as United.com or Intercontinental.com to make a reservation.
The president and CEO of MMGY, Clayton Reid, says “suppliers have much more control over inventory, and travelers have learned they can get more points and amenities by booking with the supplier directly.” However, travelers are “using online travel agencies as showrooms, or ways to go look at aggregated content to help with decision-making, not booking.”
Nowadays, travelers are looking for a more customized experience with the best deals and packages that travel agents can provide, unlike self-serve booking sites.
Currently, there are about 61,000 travel agents working in the U.S., which is half of what it was back in 2000. According to Reid, 28 percent of millennials are going to travel agents to book their trips, and 30 percent will do so again in the next two years.
This makes you wonder, “what do I lose out on when I only rely on an algorithmic machine to plan my trip?” Having a travel agent can make your booking experience less stressful, can save you time (especially if your agent is a travel expert), and can curate your trip to a T, which automated machines lack.
There is also a growing trend in companies that cater to those looking for a more luxurious experience (i.e. catering to first and business class passengers…sound familiar? 😉 ). People are looking for a consultant who can guide them through the process, answer questions and help book the right deal for them that automated systems cannot do. Think of it this way, how often do you find yourself hitting the “0” button to speak to a representative when making a call to your bank or agency, rather than talking to the automated recorder who doesn’t seem to know the difference between “yes” and “no”? We’ve all been there!
Having that one-on-one conversation with an agent is much more personal, and our agents at Business Class Consolidator are here to do just that! If you’re ready to book your next trip in business or first class and enjoy a truly personal experience with all questions answered, contact us here!
(This article first appeared on Fortune.com.)