ASTA releases 2008 travel agent usage and fee sensitivity study


ORLANDO, FL – ASTA announced today that it will release the 2008 Travel Agent Usage and Fee Sensitivity Study for Travel Agent and Premium Members on .

“This study looks at consumers’ views of travel agents, the many reasons consumers use travel agents, the service fees they are willing to pay and what percentage would continue using a travel agent if new fees were instituted,” said Cheryl Hudak, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “This kind of information in the hands of our members will help them determine if charging services fees is right for their business, whether they are charging the right amount in service fees and how they can better serve their clients based on gender, income bracket and age.”

ASTA, working in conjunction with D.K. Shifflet Associates, Ltd. (DKS) to conduct the survey, polled more than 1,000 consumers, who were at least 18 years old and had used a travel agent within the last five years. Participants were grouped into three age categories: 18-34, 35-54 and 55 and over. Participants were also asked to select a household income bracket: less than $75,000 annually; $75,000-$100,000; $100,000 – $150,000 and $150,000 or more. ASTA’s goal was to examine consumers’ current attitudes towards travel agents and service fees given the numerous changes the travel industry has experienced in recent years, such as the emergence of online travel Web sites, among others.

One of the most noteworthy findings was that many consumers continue to seek out the counsel of a travel agent when looking for new travel ideas and purchasing travel that involves a more complex itinerary. This study also found that many consumers are willing to pay service fees, but the percentage altered based on gender, income and the travel segment. Knowing this, agencies can implement better marketing techniques that reach the type of consumer inclined to invest in the professional services of a travel agent.

The 2008 ASTA Travel Agent Usage and Price Sensitivity Study was conducted online in March 2008 using e-Rewards’ consumer panel; the survey consisted of 16 closed-end questions.

A summary of the study will be available for members on on Monday, Sept. 8. The full report will be available for purchase for $1,499 in The ASTA Store later this fall.

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.