The time is right for the luxury travel agent
Tuesday 19 Jun 2018
The US Affluent Traveler Survey from Skift Research found that most high-end travellers get their information from TripAdvisor (48%) and destination websites (42%). That means they are taking advice from non-objective sources, namely their peers and tourism boards with a vested interest in a destination. Despite changes in the industry, a travel agent remains the best option for travellers looking to get the most from their holiday.
So what can a good agent offer?
Building a solid relationship between agent and client means they can create a truly bespoke, customised journey. That covers everything from recommending suitable properties and organising local tour guides to chartering private jets when commercial just won’t do. The longer the relationship goes on, the more personalisation they can craft into each trip.
Research from Google shows that the average person will make 32 visits to 10 different websites before they book a flight. That’s a huge amount of time that could be saved by using an experienced agent who will be able to create a bespoke itinerary.
When things go wrong (as they often do) an agent is the traveller’s advocate, able to manage cancellations, changes and disasters big or small. They can push for refunds or compensation for a client and are able to build their learnings straight into the next booking.
The same survey also found that most ‘super affluent’ travellers (classified as those with a household income of over US$200,000 a year) don’t want to waste time searching for deals online. Instead, they prefer to book directly with the airline or hotel they want and pay the advertised rate. Travel agents can capture this segment of the market by offering a service that is driven by expertise, experience, product knowledge and insider tips, rather than price. They won’t be competing with OTAs or the new raft of high-end travel deal websites but can instead build a relationship with the traveller and tailor their ideal holiday for them.
PC: Toursim Australia