The Travel Factory Blog

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Travel Agents Adapt

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One of the travel columnist that I refer to quite often, Richard Turen, recently had an article regarding the plethora of travel apps in the on-line environment. According to him, “the figures are staggering”!!! They are estimating that 30% of all travel sales in the U.S. will be made on a mobile device.

By the end of 2018, the percentage of trips that will first be planned using a smartphone will exceed 50%. Obviously, the largest users of digital, millennials (ages 18-34), are the largest generation that are employing this form of individual travel arrangements, close to 75 million individual so-called “travel agents”, that is until something goes wrong, then they call a professional for some help. But unbeknownst to them until they call, the professional can't help them if the record wasn't booked by that agent.

Another travel columnist from Mankato, Minnesota quoted an agent there who was talking about the old days, (80's and 90's) when agents were selling airline tickets all day long, and in the early 80's they were still hand-writing the tickets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of travel agents went from 124,000 in 2000 to 74,100 in 2014.

That agent said, despite that, business is booming; there is still a need for good, quality travel service. And, the need appears to be growing as well. One marketing firm reported that 22% of U.S. residents who make more than $50,000 per year booked travel with an agent in 2015, up 14% from the year before. Another interesting statistic that was quoted in November 2017, 34% of millennials who traveled used travel agents to help plan their trip.

This agent in Mankato said that often there are things that the individual website they are looking at doesn't tell the whole story. For example, the fare might be cheaper, but there are three connections to get to their destination, and it takes all day. Also, one person said she got a real good rate on a hotel but when she called a professional travel agent, the agent told her that the hotel was not the all-inclusive property she was expecting and that is why the rate was so good.

In Turen's article on travel apps, he had a bunch of suggestions that directed travelers about all kinds of activities, places to eat, neat places to go in certain cities. One that I thought was interesting was “Hopper”. He said that Hopper “had a great interface, and it has the ability to forecast when a ticket should be purchased via push notifications.”

Another one was called ICE, In Case of Emergency. It records details about your personal medical conditions along with your doctor's contact and insurance information, which it stores for translation in 10 languages.

A couple of them that got my attention was “Seat Alerts” and “SeatGuru”. They are real handy especially if you're on the airlines very much.....commercial clients value them highly. Seat Alerts monitors the available seats on a flight up until its departure from the gate and is particularly valuable for last-minute cancellations and no-shows. The SeatGuru is a powerful tool that has seat charts on all the airlines where one can get seats assignments. My hunch is that they don't tell you that in this day and time, those most desirable seats come with an additional price.

Allow the travel agents at The Travel Factory, each one with over 30 years experience, the pleasure of helping with your travel needs. We can be reached at 698-1421 or 800-760-4040. Our office is at 4150 Southwest Drive, Ste. 120. We'd love to be of service.

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