The first song ever played on MTV? Ironically, “Video Killed the Radio Star”. It might seem like in the middle of the internet age that the internet killed the travel agency business, but the truth is actually the opposite. Much as radio stations are still thriving, and actually growing thanks to internet and satellite radio, travel agents have a definite purpose in this modern travel world.
So why is this true, you might ask? With so many travel companies out there and nearly ¾ of cell phone owners using smartphones, aren’t all travellers booking their own reservations on their own? Actually, no. (ttgmena.com, 2015) Thanks to technology for travel agents like the Travelport Mobile Agent which give agents a nimble way of accessing the GDS programs, agents have the ability to book even the most complex travel arrangements for their clients.
Travelport Mobile Agent is one of the applications for travel agents that means agents have a secure portal to work in along with an easy to use interface that will even run on mobile devices like phones and tablets. That way, whenever something arises that prompts a client to have to make a change mid-trip, the agent is able to make that change and keep the client going, no matter what time of day or night.
Helping to boost the need for travel agencies is a rise in travel overall. Now that the economy has improved, people are finding they need to travel for business to make that personal connection that just can’t happen over the video conference. Travellers are also able to make personal travel arrangements now to get that dream vacation they’ve always wanted.
ASTA recently reported that travel agencies are hiring again, with 2015 marking a five-year high in terms of number of agents employed. (Covey, 2015) Home-based travel agents are also on the rise, thanks to solutions like TTS Web Agent that mean they can do all of the same tasks that an agent in an office can do.
But aside from an improved economy, why are people deciding to travel again? First, there are the millennials. The younger travellers are able to travel because they not only have the money but they have the time. They are not yet tied down with the responsibilities of family and careers. Whether these trips are to volunteer in long-term projects in far-away lands, or just to see what else lies out there, this is the generation that is helping bring back the need for travel agencies.
Adding to the boon are the Baby Boomers who have gotten all of the kids out of the house and now can use some of their savings for taking trips. Some are going for the same reasons as the millennials – they want to help solve problems in Third World countries and have the resources to do so. An online travel website cannot do well in self-booking these kinds of trips to small places.
The perfect confluence of time, money, and technology is leading to a rise in travel again. Travel agents are in demand, and this sector of the economy is set to grow for years to come.
Covey, C. (2015, March 31). Travelpulse.com. Retrieved July 2015, from Travel Pulse: http://www.travelpulse.com/news/travel-agents/asta-reports-five-year-high-in-agency-employment.html
ttgmena.com. (2015, July 1). Retrieved July 2015, from TTGMena Online: http://www.ttgmena.com/Travelport-introduces-Travelport-Smartpoint-6-0/