Survey finds little change in affluent travelers using agents

Twenty-eight percent of the affluent travelers surveyed by Yesawich Pepperdine Brown & Russell said they use a travel agent during the past year to either book a trip that required luxury accommodations or to gather information for a future holiday.

YPB&R reported that the percentage had dipped from 32% in 2004, the last time the study was done. The company said the drop was not statistically significant.

YPB&R defined affluent travelers as those with household incomes of $150,000 or more.

Of the respondents who have used travel agents in the past year, the greatest percentage of them did so to book hotels or resorts: 71%, to be exact. Sixty-two percent booked airline tickets with agents, a drop of six percentage points from 2004.

One-third said they used an agent to book a cruise in the past year; only 25% said they did in 2004. More travelers, 30%, said they booked vacation packages with agents that they did in 2004, at 22%.

Spa bookings were up slightly: 5% in 2006 compared to 3% in 2004, while car rental fell to 24% vs. 29% in 2004.

YPB&Rs Market Intelligence findings showed that 48% of the affluent travelers who used an agent said they considered their agents recommendations very/extremely influential.

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