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THE THREE This year’s Travel Industry Survey included a set of 14 questions designed to determine if travel agents can be separated
into different segments based on personality differences that relate to how
they approach their daily work. The
questions asked agents to indicate the
degree to which they agree or disagree
with various statements about their perspectives on operating as travel agents in
today’s business environment.
Factor analysis was used to separate
the results into different psychographic (
Three distinct groups emerged with surprising
clarity, with little overlap between the segments.
These segments have been labeled the Contenteds, the
Searchers and the Careerists.
A second surprise in the results is that the groups are nearly
equal in size. Of the total sample,
35% are classified as Contenteds, 32% as Searchers, and 33%
as Careerists (Fig. 1).
Differences in the personalities of these groups are striking
in how they view travel as a profession and how they relate to the industry.
OF TRAVEL AGENTS
By Stanley C. Plog
passion. They feel that being a travel agent is an
exciting and interesting occupation, even with the
problems facing agents today. And they believe that
most of their travel suppliers are fair and honest.
They don’t find their work tedious or boring.
They state that people like to talk with them at
cocktail parties and social gatherings when they find
out that they are travel agents. Most will continue
to do what they do now for the foreseeable future
and don’t see many bumps in the road that could
change their positive views.
The Contenteds (35%) love almost everything
about their day-to-day activities, especially the opportunity to travel as part of their jobs. They chose
to become travel agents because of their personal
interest in leisure travel, and they haven’t lost that
Searchers (32%) fit at the opposite end of the
spectrum on most counts. They express unhappiness at having chosen to be a travel agent. If they
could start over, they would enter another field.
They believe that the skills
and experience required to be
a good agent do not result in
adequate rewards for their efforts. They worry about the
future, expressing a feeling that
problems that travel agents face
today will increase over the next
few years. Concern about the
potential for another terrorist
attack that would reduce travel demand and impact
their livelihood is higher in this group.
They think it’s difficult to make an adequate living as an agent, and they anticipate that they will
probably leave the field within a few years. Time
pressures in an age of low commissions and rewards
limit the amount of client service they can provide,
a fact that causes unhappiness. And they consider