Western Telegraph: advertising feature

Death of the Travel Agent...

It appears that more and more tourists are using the internet to research holiday destinations and book online meaning travel agents and their brochures could soon become a thing of the past.

People are tending to trust the words of strangers on sites such as TripAdvisor than the words of the tour operators in their brochures. Travellers prefer to ask colleagues, family and friends for recommendations, rather than ask their local travel agent. Previously people have trusted the words of their chosen travel agents and have often spent an afternoon chosing the right hotel for their holidays to the Costa De La Luz or Turkey.

From the 1,375 people surveyed 11% said they used newspaper supplements and magazines for travel advice, 13% watched travel programmes and 25% said they read online reviews for guidance. 50% of the over 45's that were questioned said they had used online sites to share their travel experience whether they were good or bad.

Total Media commissioned the survey and their director Nick Oram stated, "There has been a decline in the traditional glossy brochure in favour of the internet and that's not necessarily a bad thing." He continued by saying that brochures are extremely expensive to produce so the travel industry welcomed the use of e-commerce as it should make the booking process more cost effective. This is all well and good if holidaymakers use the online brochures then go on to book through the travel agent, but not such good news for them if people are using independent sites.

The figures also showed that just 8% had gone into a travel agents to book their holiday, 22% of customers booked over the phone and 70% used the internet to book their holidays.

Convenience, price and information available were cited as the main reasons for choosing to research and book holidays on the internet.

So whether you are looking for a weekend break in Amsterdam, the holiday of a lifetime to the Maldives or family holidays to the Costa de la Luz, it looks like the internet could get you the best break at the best price.