Are Travel Agents Going to be Packing Their Bags?

This post is an entry for our $25,000 scholarship contest. The post was created by Emily Buck and may not always reflect the views of JW Surety Bonds.

travel-agencies

Many jobs have become a victim to new technology. Telemarketers, cashiers, and bank tellers have all began to search for alternate employment as machines have began to replace their demand. Travel agents are also on the list of these endangered jobs as their demand has declined over the years. There are countless travel sites that claim to help you find the cheapest flights and hotel accommodations for any destination. With these sophisticated travel websites many travel agents have begun doubting their job security as they know the technology will only continue to advance.

Although we have become accustomed to turning to technology as the solution to any problem, we often times forget that computers are generators. They are given an input and produce a generic output. They lack the personal experience that a human will be able to provide. Unlike a personal travel agent, a website can’t give you their opinion or make personalized adjustments to your travel itinerary. They may be able to locate hotels with available rooms within a given time frame, or find flights departing from one specified location and landing in another, but that is about as far as they go.

If you are looking for a basic vacation from point A to point B with minimal attractions in between travel sites may offer the most baseline options. However if you are looking to the full experience, travel agents can offer you invaluable knowledge. They have spent years researching and even visiting travel destinations as well as hearing about travel experiences via personal clients. They have industry connections which allow them to provide you with the most competitive prices as well as match you with tours and packages that ensure you obtain the full travel experience.

Travel agents have especially proven their relevance when it comes to group travel and business trips. Travel sites are unable to accommodate large groups, giving travel agents the upper hand. Whether it’s a school trip or business conference, travel agencies have the ability to contact hotels and even restaurants to make reservations to accommodate any size. They also have the ability to acquire group rates and may have standing relationships with hotels from previous business transactions which increases the likelihood of receiving any discount or special accommodations.

Some travel sites can also be sponsored which often times goes unnoticed. They can be run by hotel companies or airlines which program them to offer their rooms or flights first. This means that you are often times missing out on the best deals. Travel agents on the other hand often have access to flight offers that aren’t open to the public which can help them find you the cheapest option that works with your travel schedule. Unlike a travel agent the internet won’t continue to search for low rates and contact you with new offers that may become available.

Travel agents have continued to prove their relevance in today’s workforce and are far from becoming obsolete. In 2012 they have exemplified this by selling 64% of the year’s annual air fare income outselling any travel booking website. They continue to provide the personal interaction that no website or technology will ever be able to replace. The same personal interaction that many new technologies are depriving people from today as we continue to place our lives in the hands of machines.