Leisure travellers want agents not social media

Tourists continue to rely on agents for planning and inspiring
A new survey shows that travellers still put their trust in travel agents when planning holiday choices, TTG Digital reports. Tourists from the UK relied on agents for planning and inspiring their 2015 holidays more than social media, resort websites or online travel providers.
Of more than a thousand people questioned in a study by consultancy BDRC Continental, 27% said agents were the best port of call in the early stages of selecting a getaway – beating digital platforms including friends’ social media posts, resort or tourist board websites and OTAs.
“It’s about trust, and people want to speak face-to-face,” research director Jon Young explained. “Travel agents can offer that reassurance to customers and travellers feel that they help to cut out risk by discussing different options rather than having to organise everything on their own.”
Though the study does not focus on whether these initial meetings transform into bookings, Young believes it is the personal aspect that consumers enjoy.
“For our study we focused on planning and inspiration, and although when it comes to the booking process travellers might use an online platform, we found that it’s the ‘people element’ they feel is important, and we’ve seen people are moving away from more in-your-face marketing.”
This human touch is strongly felt within the millennial market, with the research discovering that 71% of people aged 18-34 are actively seeking out recommendations when planning a holiday. Surprisingly, the figure is higher than those who rely on digital publicity for travel ideas (70%) and far greater than TV advertising (50%).
“Many [18-34s] will be travelling on their own for the first time and it’s evident from the data that the knowledge agents have helps to inform their choices,” Young said.
TTG Digital

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