ASTA Study Says Agents Save Clients Average $452 Per Trip
New research from The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) proves that travel agents save consumers time and money. Consumers report that travel agents save them an average $452 per trip - and 4 hours of travel planning. Perhaps most importantly, consumers said that agents help them avoid costly mistakes.
The independent study, "Best of Both Worlds: Quantifying How Travel Agents Save Consumers Time & Money," that was funded by Carnival Corporation and ASTA says full results will be posted on ASTA.org by May 30th.
"We couldn't hold back the good news, and that is that travel agent usage is at its highest level since we began commissioning independent consumer research 3 years ago,” said ASTA President & CEO Zane Kerby. “At this point, consumers have tried it all. They've booked online, they've gone direct and they've used a travel agent. This study dispels the myth that booking direct with suppliers or spending hours online yourself gets you a better deal, or gives you a happier travel experience.”
ASTA is releasing the results in honour of National Travel and Tourism Week 01-07MAY, with a special focus on Travel Agent Appreciation Day, Wednesday 04MAY.
Key preliminary findings in the ASTA survey include:
In the past 12 months, nearly 1/2 of consumers polled (47%) booked travel through supplier websites, followed by 25% on online travel agency websites and 23% through travel agents. That 23% was the highest share in the past 3 years.
When looking back on past travel experiences, almost 2/3 (63%) said using an agent makes their overall trip experience better; 69% reported that agents save them time in planning and booking; 66% said agents help them avoid costly mistakes and 64% say agents find better deals.
The key reason consumers who haven't used an agent in the past 12 months say they went that route: "I want to do it myself.
Travel agents lead other booking channels in selling river cruises and tied with online suppliers for selling ocean cruises and tour packages. Agents also scored well for selling all-inclusive resorts and travel insurance, nearly tying with online suppliers.
The top reason cited by consumers who have not used an agent in the past 12 months of why they would consider it is, if the agent can save them money (47%), followed closely by if the agent can find better deals than online websites and if the travel agent can help the consumer avoid mistakes.