Are travel agents an endangered species?

Hotel News - 14/06/2010

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In the old days, life was much simpler. We hear it time and time again from our elders. Take holidays, for example – it wasn’t so long ago that planning a holiday basically involved hitting a high-street travel agent, browsing through a bunch of brochures, and choosing the when, where and how much.

A new survey by leading online cashback saving site Top Cashback, indicates that golden age may soon be a distant memory. Today’s traveller increasingly resorts to online shopping to find, arrange and pay for holidays. The change is so marked that a surprisingly small fraction of holidaymakers now use travel agents.

Fewer than one in ten of the Top Cashback members that responded to the survey said they would be using a travel agent to arrange their holiday. Nearly 80 per cent of those surveyed said they put their holidays together themselves, using online resources. The bottom line is that today’s holidaymaker is happy to make their own separate arrangements online for flights, accommodation and car hire.

The study threw up some other interesting patterns. Thirty-eight per cent of people said they had no travel plans this summer. One-third of them said they’d travelled last year but could not afford a trip this year. The rest said they were avoiding the peak-season rush. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they would spend at least as much on this year’s summer holiday as they had in 2009.

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