Technology

Travel agents do not impact travel decisions: study

In the evolving digital world, traditional travel agents are in a constant battle with OTAs for customers.

But just how much of the market is going online, and where are people looking for travel inspiration prior to booking the tickets and boarding the plane?

And most importantly, how can travel agents tap into these behaviours? A new report hot off the press has landed exclusively on Travel Weekly’s desk, and now it’s coming straight to you.

The New Digital Traveller Report from performance marketing technology company, Criteo – which you can download free of charge here for even more travel insights – makes shocking revelations that travel agents just aren’t cutting it when it comes to influencing traveller’s decisions.

When customers enter the first of five stages of travel­ ­­– the ‘Dream’ phase – just 19 per cent are turning to their agents for advice. When compared to the 51 per cent who look to travel websites, online reviews and forums, that’s quite a gap.

Interestingly, word of mouth shapes 51 per cent of the ‘Dream’ phase also, while attractions and activities of a selected destination also rate with just over half of respondents.

49 per cent of travellers are basing their dreaming and scheming on past experiences, while 35 per cent are influenced by travel and destination-specific ads online. This is particularly important given all the travel agency ads cropping up of late.

A further 27 per cent of those surveyed look to travel shows and social media when dreaming about their next destination.

Agents might be great at their job, but reaching travellers when they’re in their ‘Dream’ stage of travel is essential if they want to be part of the larger journey.

“Personalisation in your marketing strategy is also important,” Criteo Australia & NZ Commercial Director Pressy Sankaran said.

“Activity must be tailored to the individual and their interests if it is to strike a chord, and lead them to you for more information. In a world with so much competing information, you only get a short moment to make an impact.”

One way agents can reach clients in this phase is by managing their social media accounts to offer inspiration and a call to action for travellers to work through the ‘Dream’ phase alongside their agent.

Running a blog with destination pieces, or even sending out emails to clients with inspirational travel content can also help ramp up customer engagement.

To explore more insights into how agents can tap into this market, download your own copy of the Criteo report here.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

  • Sunshine

    There is little need for agents to worry now about the Dream stage – the internet now covers that. What agents now sell is reassurance and accountability: “Is it the right trip for me and, if it’s not, who do I blame”. And of the two, accountability is by far the most significance.

  • Maxwell Smart

    with the massive price war in Colorado, skiing there, is now cheaper than anywhere, even including airfares to USA except you can only get the deals through Australian wholesalers & agents, you cannot buy the incredible ski deals ANYWHERE online. Eg. Up to 96.5% off lift tickets., yes 96.5% (that’s almost free)

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