New research has revealed that travel agents are facing a comeback – in the US at least – and from the high-end jetsetting crowd.
According to a report in Forbes.com, consumers are looking for searching for unique experiences – aka more Instagram worthy moments – and higher-end more affluent travellers want travel agents to make it all happen.
The paper quotes a survey from Yougov, noting that 95% of a group called “Extraordinary Travelers” said travel agents were Extremely/Very Influential in hotel selection. Of the same group, 94% said their agents have a similar influence on cruise selection and 79% on booking flights.
“Extraordinary Travelers are going beyond experiential travel to focus on transformational travel, a significant move that could have implications for how travel suppliers develop products in the future,” Yougov clarified.
To fit the above definition,the Forbes article claims, you would have needed to take a “private jet vacation,” and the group had an average household income of US$968,000 and liquid assets (stock and cash) of US$16.5 million.
According to one travel industry source quoted in the article, the reason high-end travellers sought agents advice, and in return, why agents had such a strong influence on their decisions was because people wanted experiences and access, and the reason they go to travel agents is because they don’t know how to achieve these themselves. Plus, “they are not going to agents to book air and hotels, but to get treated very treated well.”