For prospective vacationers, trust in agents rises
WHO DO YOU TRUST WHEN
CONSIDERING VACATION DESTINATIONS?
By Nadine Godwin
Travelers who responded ‘extremely confident/very confident’
Recommendations of a friend or family member
Information in travel guidebooks
Recommendations of a travel agent
Information on the website of an online travel agency such as Expedia,
Information in a company or destination website
Information in travel brochures
Articles in newspapers and magazines or programs on TV and radio
Reviews you have read in an online advisory site such as TripAdvisor.com
Reviews you have read on a blog
Information in travel advertising
For agents, status quo is not a bad thing
By Nadine Godwin
Travel agents can certainly take some comfort in the latest consumer re- search undertaken among active lei- sure travelers. The results are strik- ingly similar to those reported a year
ago, suggesting that retailers are hanging onto
their share of the consumer’s travel dollar in the
The Leisure Travel Monitor reported that among
air travelers who booked a hotel stay for at least one
leisure trip last year, 28% reported using a conven-
tional travel agency for a portion of their travels,
about the same as the previous year. On average,
they used agents for 10% of their travel.
To further illuminate these data, Travel Weekly
requested a further breakout by spending.
The results show that leisure travelers who used a
travel agent spent 43% of their travel dollars at brick-and-mortar agencies, and another 5% of those dollars were spent with a home-based agency.
Supplier websites accounted for just under a
quarter (24%) of leisure travel dollars, and another
11% of those dollars were spent at websites operat-
See AGENTS on Page 12
Travelers trust their friends and family more than anyone when it comes to recommendations for leisure travel. The differ- ence between the high ratings given to these informal advis- ers and the next-most-trusted
sources, guidebooks and travel agents, is striking.
On the other hand, unless Cousin Millie is a
travel agent as well as a relative, prospective travelers still have to turn to other sources to make their
purchases, and there still seems to be considerable
confidence in travel agents.
Here are this year's stats: 79% of leisure travelers
said they were extremely or very confident in the
recommendations of friends and family, whereas
50% said the same about guidebooks and 45%
said the same about travel agents.
In fact, according to the 2009 Leisure Travel
Monitor, consumer confidence in guidebooks and
agents rose in the last year from 44% and 40%, respectively, reversing losses of the previous year.
In the case of information found at online travel
agency sites, however, 46% of leisure travelers were extremely or very confident in the source a year ago, but
that portion dropped significantly, to 38% this year.
As for the remaining information sources, leisure travelers expressed high degrees of confidence
as follows: company or destination website, 33%;
travel brochures, 32%; articles in the consumer
media, 30%; reviews in online advisory sites like
TripAdvisor.com, 27%; reviews in blogs, 22%; and
travel advertising, 14%.
In the past decade, traveler confidence in all
sources has slipped, when measured against com-
parable research in 2000. At that time, 51% said
they were extremely or very confident
in agent recommendations. Other
options, measured at the time, were
given votes of confidence as follows:
travel brochures, 42%; information
on a company or destination web-
site, 40%; stories in consumer media,
39%; and travel advertising, 30%.
On the other hand, in roughly the
same time period, the influence of
agents rose among those who used
traditional agents to book air travel
and accommodations. In this year’s
Monitor, 62% of such clients said
See CONFIDENCE on Page 10
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