What is it that travellers look for in a travel agent? According to new research, one that will save them time, get them better prices and is able to offer expert advice.
Based on that, they don't seem to be asking for a lot, but as any travel agent will know, it's not easy to cut corners and cut costs for customers.
In order to provide the expert advice customers are craving, you've got get pretty serious about content marketing. Meanwhile, to save customers time, you've got to ensure your website is up to the tasks asked of it by visitors.
The technology that powers your website needs to be powerful enough to meet the demands and needs of your customers, especially with the new report from AMP and Blitz predicting a rise in demand for travel agents in the "near future".
The report, entitled 'Targeting Moments of Need in the New Travel Landscape', suggests the rise in demand will be down to four trends:
The possibility for better, more personalised recommendations powered by big data and artificial intelligence.
The arrival of a new generation of travellers who have come of age on mobile devices.
The ongoing premium placed on authenticity.
OTAs providing travellers with endless choices, but not solutions.
As things stand, 30% of the survey's respondents said they used a travel agent as a resource when planning their last leisure trip. Meanwhile, more than half (56%) of the nearly 400 survey respondents said they have used an agent at some point in the past.
The participants were also quizzed on where they get their travel inspiration from, with word of mouth remaining the top way people get inspired.
Breaking down the results into millennials and non-millennials, word of mouth was the top source of travel inspiration for 16% and 20%, respectively.
Among millennials, Facebook and Instagram were the next most popular travel inspiration at 15% and 13%, followed by a website (12%) and YouTube (12%).
Non-millennial respondents preferred websites (16%), but social media still proved to be popular sources of inspiration in general, especially Facebook (15%) and Instagram (9%). YouTube accounted for 8% of non-millennial respondents' travel inspiration.
Magazines (8% millennials, 7% non-millennials), TV shows and movies (8% millennials, 9% non-millennials), Twitter (7% millennials, 6% non-millennials), Snapchat (5% millennials, 3% non-millennials) and other (2% millennials, 6% non-millennials) rounded out the categories of travel inspiration.
To sum up...
The report would suggests that travellers look to their peers for inspiration on where to go, before heading to a travel agent's website to flesh out their plans with expert advice on how to make it happen.
Just make sure there are no barriers in place, i.e. slow website functionality, as travellers go about booking their trip – regardless of the device they are trying to book it on.
For more information on how you can provide a first class online experience for your customers, contact us today.