When the New York Times this weekend ran a report titled "Are Travel
Agents Back?" we wondered: are travel agents going to like this story?
The answers to the questions, in order: Yes, yes they are (that is, according to the consumer press, since we know that smart agents never went anywhere in the first place).
And yes, yes they are.
The Times article began with an anecdote of a traveler who had used a
traditional travel agent after years of slogging through her own
bookings and was exceptionally pleased by the outcome. And it ended with
profiles of six agents, all under the age of 37, who embody that
mentality. (Plus the article listed each agents' service fee, a nice nod
to the direction in which the retail industry appears to be moving.)
A link to the article on nytimes.com was posted on Travel Weekly's Facebook page, where agents were complimentary; the story was "liked"
120 times and shared nearly 50 times by Monday afternoon.
"Wonderful group of young agents featured," commented Steph Lee on
Facebook. (As an aside, two of the six agents profiled had also been
featured in a November Travel Weekly article by Johanna Jainchill,
"Next-Gen agents." A third, Jason Coleman, has also been quoted in
The article was also featured prominently on Virtuoso's Facebook page, since
CEO Matthew Upchurch was quoted, and three of the six agents featured
are Virtuoso agents.
The comments alongside the article on nytimes.com also were
overwhelmingly positive. "On a recent group trip, my friends were
surprised to learn that I had gotten a better deal from a travel agent
then they had seen in their online research," one commenter wrote. "I
enjoy researching and planning my itineraries and have not used a travel
agent for a long time," wrote another. "But I am beginning to see that a travel agent is
handy to have when things go wrong: planes get cancelled, hotels lose
The article rose to No. 4 on the "most emailed" list on the Times' site.