A travel agent hospitality trends survey, announced at the L.E. Hotels’ conference, revealed travel agents reported an increase in Millennials turning to travel agent services as oppose to booking independently.
Of survey respondents, 51.5% reported they saw a growth in Millennial clients. Of those that observed increases in Millennial bookings, 60.6% said Millennials make up 10-25 percent of their new business clients in the past two years. Another 18% of those who saw growth said Millennials make up less than 10%, and 12% said Millennials account for 26-50 percent of new clients in the past two years.
The survey also found other significant industry trends:
- Of respondents, 84% of the travel agents surveyed predicted that the industry would continue to see higher demand for hotel rooms and increased prices in 2016.
- Over the past year, 60% of respondents saw an increase in bookings, 35.9% saw no dramatic change in bookings, and 3.9% saw a decrease in bookings, respectively.
- When asked what the greatest difference is between a boutique hotel from the L.E. Hotels collection versus a larger corporate like a Hilton or Sheraton, respondents overwhelmingly noted that they seek out boutique hotels because they offer their clients authentic, unique experiences, and a higher level of personalized service.
- Countries that made the agents’ list of travel hot spots included classics like Italy, Australia, and France, but the list also spotlighted new destinations growing in popularity such as Cuba, China, and Croatia.
- The findings revealed that 62% of travel agents surveyed believe sites like Airbnb will continue to rise in popularity for business travelers in 2016.
- The survey also found travel agents were split on using social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Forty-six percent of respondents said information found on social media sites influence their suggestions to clients, while 53% said it did not.
- With regard to the amenities their clients value most, the travel agents noted the following in order of importance:
- Free Wi-Fi
- Food & Be
- Customer Service
- Early Check in/out
- Loyalty Program
- Spa/fitness center
“As noted by the data found in our travel agent survey, not only is domestic and international travel booming, but younger generations are starting to depend on travel agents to assist in the planning of their trips and vacations,” said L.E. Hotels Founder and Chair, Efrem Harkham. “We are also seeing some of the same consumer behaviors as noted by travel agents. Travelers are now wanting authentic experiences; from the food they eat, to local life, to staying in hotels true their location, we are seeing consumers turn toward local boutique hotels and away from international hotel megabrands.”
The survey was sent to approximately 200 travel agents in the L.E. Hotels database prior to the conference.