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Internet losing ground to travel agents

Internet losing ground to travel agents

Growing numbers of business travellers may be reversing a trend by using agents, says the 2005 National Business Travel Monitor.

Individuals asked about travel practices in 2004 and expectations for 2005 found that 32% of business travellers used agent services, up from 25% the year before.

The “significantly higher percentage” of business travellers returning to travel agents reversed the trend in recent years of fast growth for online services, according to Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, the Orlando company that co-authors the annual study.

There’s no question business travellers still use the Internet extensively: 68% turned to it to plan some aspect of their travel, and 54% booked an online trip last year, the survey found.

Yesawich concludes that time constraints and suspicions about accurate pricing are helping turn more travellers to traditional agents for help.

The Business Travel Monitor survey shows that convenience is an issue for many travellers.

The survey found that for airline and hotel users, or long-distance business travellers, 55% said the Internet was the most convenient way to arrange travel plans. But that figure was down from 58% in the 2004 survey.

Travel agents were also cited by 27% as most convenient, up from 24% last year.

When asked where they got the best prices, the Internet was cited 62% of the time, which was up from 59% last year. That number for travel agents at 25% was unchanged from last year.

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