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Agents Rule: New Survey Says Majority of Americans Prefer Agents Over Computers

Agents Rule: New Survey Says Majority of Americans Prefer Agents Over Computers

A new nationwide survey has revealed that roughly three out of four Americans are more comfortable booking a holiday with a human being than doing it online.

The nationwide online survey, which was conducted by Internova Travel Group  from 3-7 June 2021, found approximately 3 out of 4 Americans would prefer to work with a human being over a computer to access travel information that can’t be found online (75 per cent), get travel recommendations (71 per cent) or request an upgrade on a flight or a welcome amenity at a hotel (73 per cent).

People also prefer to work with a person to help them find travel discounts (57 per cent) and get access to exclusive events and experiences (65 per cent).

The findings also revealed that the pandemic had a marked effect on the attitudes and habits of age groups that would have previously opted to book online.

  • Of Gen Z respondents (born after 1997), 56 per cent had never booked a trip with a travel advisor, but that 52 per cent of them would consider booking with an agent as a result of the pandemic. 45 per cent said they are “likely or very likely” to book their next trip using a travel advisor.
  • Among Millennial respondents (born after 1981), 49 per cent have never booked with a travel advisor, but 50 per cent would consider booking with one from now on. 39 per cent said they are “likely or very likely” to book using a travel advisor.
  • For Gen X respondents (born after 1965), only 39 per cent have never used a travel agent and 39 per cent would consider booking with an agent. As a result of the pandemic, 38 per cent said they were “likely or very likely” to use one for their next travel experience.
  • And for baby boomers (aged 57+), only 22 per cent have never used an agent before.

“Many expect the younger generations, especially the digitally-native Gen Z, would prefer to book trips online themselves,” said J.D. O’Hara, CEO of Internova Travel Group.

“However, that’s not the case, as we are seeing more and more people seeking the guidance of a travel advisor in these very different travel times.”

“Travel advisors have been the unsung heroes throughout the pandemic, saving the day for their travellers, providing support to essential workers and reuniting families all over the world,” continued O’Hara.

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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