Technology

Travel Apps vs Travel Agents

Kate Webster

With more and more travel apps popping up as an alternative to the traditional travel agent, consumers around the world are spoilt for choice when it comes to booking travel.

Travelzoo recently conducted a survey of 6000 people around the world to determine how consumers in different markets research and book holidays, with the findings revealing a varying trend.

While travel apps have been adopted by a vast majority of Chinese respondents, with over 85% of Chinese Travelzoo members saying the use of travel apps as the easiest way to book a holiday, and over 70% saying they plan to book flights, cruises, package holidays and hotels via apps, European respondents showed resistance to book travel on mobile.

Travelzoo’s European President, Richard Singer said, “What the research shows is the significant difference of opinion across various nations regarding the most trustworthy and reliable ways of both researching and booking travel. It’s important for travel brands to recognise that these cultural nuances are the difference between success and failure in today’s competitive travel environment. Having a top-notch app in China is critical, while in markets like Germany and Canada the role of the travel agent remains significant. As a business, Travelzoo is constantly adapting the way our deals are presented to our members across the globe – we have to stay on top of cultural trends and shifts in order to appeal to the many markets we now operate in.”

The survey also revealed travellers from all markets place more trust in travel-deal websites (69%) than any other source, including guidebooks, travel agents, review sites and feedback from friends and family.

Canadians and Germans value travel agents more than any other nation polled, with 40% of Germans and 37% of Canadians using agent websites for inspiration. 10% of Germans and Canadians also say their final decision on what to book would be most influenced by travel agent or operator websites – for the UK and Spain this number drops to 2%.

Difficulty viewing the holiday information via smartphone is the top concern for respondents from Canada (79%), the US and France (both 77%), the UK (69%) and Germany and Spain (both 64%). Again, the response from Chinese members is vastly different: the top concern in China is payment security (36%), and problems viewing websites or apps via smartphone are an issue for just 9% of Chinese respondents.

With so much competition in the market, travel companies are always trying to find ways to keep their existing customers loyal and encourage new customers to book with them. 85% of members from France, 60% from Spain and 69% from China book with a specific company because they have the best price or the best deals. In comparison, having a positive reputation and brand perception is the biggest driver for respondents from Canada (69%), the US (67%), the UK (60%) and Germany (57%).

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