ITAA Quarterly Survey Results reveal increase in online business for travel agents
The Irish Travel Agents Association’s (ITAA) latest quarterly members survey reveals that 35% of travel agents increased their online business for the third quarter of 2017 (July-Sept), when compared to the same period in 2016. Almost two-thirds of ITAA members surveyed (65%) said that more than 10% of their bookings now come through online channels.
Cormac Meehan, President of the ITAA, commented, “The results of this survey show how Irish travel agents have adapted to the market in recent years. Travel agents now see the benefits in advertising their products online, particular as online tools and platforms play such an important part in the consumer’s travel experience. New innovative travel management technology has also played a part in boosting the efficiency of travel agencies.”
Meehan continued, “Despite the digitalisation of many travel agencies, the human contact and face-to-face personalised service is still the key reason that customers return to travel agencies year on year. Phone bookings were named (in the survey) as the top method used by customers to purchase holidays from our members, followed by in person bookings.”
“For many people, their yearly holiday is their biggest discretionary spend so it is important that it’s done right. Travel agents create something that can’t be ‘Googled’ — a personal experience. They take the time to understand customers’ unique travel needs and interests and translate them into a personalised travel experience.”
The results of the latest ITAA survey also revealed that over 60% of agents had an increase in turnover for the third quarter of 2017 (July – September), compared to the same period in 2016, while 65% of agents surveyed increased their level of bookings.
Cruises were voted the top trend for 2018, for the second year in a row, followed by city breaks and adventure holidays. The travel agents surveyed also commented that Irish people are booking much earlier for their 2018 holidays and are willing to spend a bit extra on their trips, with an increasing number opting for long haul, all inclusive breaks and holidays with multiple locations. Spain, Portugal and the US were voted the top three destinations for Winter 2017 according to travel agents bookings, for the third year in a row.
The ITAA represents Ireland’s travel Industry, bringing together 100 travel agent members and 70 affiliate partners. ITAA members cover over 140 outlets in different towns and cities throughout the Republic of Ireland. All travel agent members are licensed by the Commission for Aviation Regulation and are fully bonded providing full financial protection for their customers.