A recent study surveying 2,050 American premium travellers who booked an international flight at least once in the past six months found that 31% of them prefer relying on travel advisor services when flying internationally.
Voyagu, an AI-powered travel management platform and marketplace, conducted the study from June to November 2022 among affluent, US-based international travellers, aged 40-75, with net worth starting at $2 million. All respondents had booked an overseas flight within the past six months and typically book multiple flights each year. Annually, 33% booked one flight, 57.4% booked 2-5 flights and 5.1% booked five or more flights. The remaining 4.5% booked one flight every few years.
As travel demand shows no sign of decreasing, the role of agents is becoming more prominent, changing from a booking assistant into a travel-savvy expert who provides valuable tips as well as instant trip support and management.Ivan Saprov, CEO and founder Voyagu
The participants of the survey confirmed that one of the main reasons for them to use a travel advisor, besides the benefit of better pricing, is getting human support and expert management of sudden changes throughout the trip. While the share of online self-service booking is still rather high, at 69% and airline website bookings at 41.6%, when the price is comparable, 31% strongly prefer to book with a travel advisor.
“A common myth is that using an advisor increases the trip price. If agents’ routine tasks are automated by tech solutions, travellers can enjoy invaluable advising services for the same or even lower prices than if they were booking the trip on their own”, said Ivan Saprov, CEO and founder of Voyagu.
The study also revealed that there is no specific difference in choosing a travel advisor when it comes to frequency and reasons for travel and the preference to book with a an advisor is gender neutral.
The research outcomes correlate with the findings of another recent survey commissioned by ALG Vacations, which showed that 57% of US adults believe they would benefit from having an expert handle unexpected vacation issues. The survey also found that 54% of Generation Xers (ages 42-57) and 48% of Baby Boomers (ages 58-75) would also be open to having expert help.
The market size of the travel agency sector in the US amounted to $38.65 billion in 2021 and is forecast to reach $48.53 billion in 2022. The primary positive factors affecting this industry are international trips by US residents and a medium-low growth risk score. Trends in residents travelling within the United States on overnight trips for vacations, business or other purposes are also key factors influencing revenue for the travel agency industry, Voyagu indicates.