American Marketer

Travel and hospitality

Travel agents used the most by luxury travelers: report

May 12, 2017

Luxury travelers are more likely to use travel agents than others


After strong growth in the luxury travel industry in 2016, Travel Experts predicts that 2017 will be similarly vitalizing with 58 percent of polled travel agents reporting increased sales year-over-year.

This data comes from Travel Experts’ latest "Luxury Travel Trends" report, which took data from the company’s database of luxury travel agents. What the report found was that not only is growth expected this year, but that many customers are increasingly recognizing the value of using a luxury travel agent.

"Very sophisticated, experienced travelers, fully capable of booking their own hotels online, are turning to travel advisors to do the work for them," said Lynn Juliano, an independent affiliate of Travel Experts, Raleigh, NC.

Travel agent
For the average traveler, modern technology has all but eliminated the use of travel agents. Nowadays, most consumers can use simple online search engines and booking assistants to find flights, hotels and other amenities.

But for luxury travelers who can afford it, a dedicated travel agent is still a valuable luxury. With an agent, luxury travelers can put all of the difficult scheduling and decision-making in the hands of an experienced professional.

But how much luxury travelers are actually using travel agents was not completely clear, until Travel Experts launched its most recent research effort.

The most popular travel destination is Europe

The company polled a number of travel agents specializing in luxury travel to see how their businesses are doing and whether they are seeing significant growth of their business. Additionally, the survey looked at what kind of trips these agents are servicing the most.

So far, 58 percent of surveyed travel agents said they have seen increased sales year-over-year. Fifty-five percent of these agents attribute this growth to an increased recognition of the necessity of using a travel agent when planning a luxury trip.

Additionally, luxury travelers travel quite often. The report found that customers averaged 33 days traveling for work and 18 days traveling for fun per year.

This high travel frequency can be made much easier through the use of a travel agent.

Luxury travel
This trend has been on the rise for a few years now. Even back in 2013, data showed that customers were using luxury travel agents more frequently.

A report from the Travel Leaders Group on trends in travel in 2013 found that 86 percent of travel agents had reported rises in sales (see story).

There have even been some attempts to combine influencer marketing with travel agent-style bookings enacted by Starwood Hotels.

Most travelers stay for two weeks at a time

Two of Tribute Portfolio’s newest Parisian hotels, Le Metropolitan and Le Dokhan’s, are now bookable through social media, an innovative feat likely to prompt other major hotel chains to consider tapping into the growing popularity of influencers, bloggers and mobile shopping platforms., which is owned by publisher monetization service rewardStyle, allows users to sign up for its platform, like various Instagram photos and have the featured products emailed to them with purchasing links, filling a void left by Instagram’s ban of clickable links in picture captions (see story).

Luxury travelers are clearly the most valuable sector for travel agents in a time when many travelers prefer to plan themselves. In this case, convenience is more important than price for travelers.

"Their time is valuable and they trust our ability to leverage our contacts to get the best rates, special upgrades and VIP treatment upon their arrival," Ms. Juliano said.