Flood of travel websites may be pushing up demand for human travel agents

Travel Sites
A flood of travel websites may be pushing Americans to talk to human travel agents.
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

The Internet is teeming with travel Web sites that will can lock in the lowest air fare, find you a plane with onboard Wi-Fi and even hook you up with a travel companion.

With so many online sites to choose from, why is there a growing demand for human travel agents?

A new report from the American Society of Travel Agents found that 74% of its members employ at least one additional employee or independent contractor, the highest percentage since 2010 when the rate was 77%.

In fact, the report said travel agent salaries are on the rise and some agents are worried they won’t find experienced agents to hire in the future.


One possible reason for the rising demand is that travelers are overwhelmed by the online travel website choices and are looking for a professional to make sense of it all.

“Travel agencies are seeing an influx of new customers who want a professional, vetted travel professional to cut through the Internet clutter for them,” said Zane Kerby, president and chief executive of the American Society of Travel Agents. “If you searched online for ‘hotels in the Caribbean’ or ‘European riverboat cruises’ for example, you’d find hundreds if not thousands of entries.”

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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