travel agents: a re-emerging force in hospitality distribution

New research from travel agent groups shows some interesting trends in how consumers are booking their trips.

According to a recent survey by the American Society of Travel Agents, 22 percent of American consumers said they booked travel through an agent in the last 12 months, the highest share reported in the last three years.

Other recent research from groups like MMGY Global and Travel Weekly had similar findings. And all report that the highest usage is coming from what might seem like the most unlikely group: millennials. Experts attribute the rise in use among this time-pressed group to the fact that they are often looking for adventure-oriented, less-known destinations. They also are less travel-savvy than older travelers, so they want someone to help them sift through all the information online.

That’s great news for travel professionals and a validation of our continued commitment to connecting with and supporting not only the traditional global distribution systems but also the inventive new platforms being built to serve agents around the globe.

In Africa, for instance, we just signed a partnership with Plum Accommodation, a business-to-business platform based in Johannesburg that serves more than 2,100 agents in South Africa and has plans to expand throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Canada, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Plum Accommodation is known as a technological and service leader, developing automation tools to help agents do their jobs more efficiently.

Plum Accommodation CEO Brian van Tonder says agents are also a growing force in emerging markets like Africa, where consumers are at a higher risk of being conned online and travelers often need travel professional advice on issues like whether they will need a visa.

The partnership with Plum Accommodation is the just the latest in a series of agreements we have announced in recent months with business-to-business wholesalers, tour operators and travel platforms around the world to expand their offerings to travel professionals and open new markets for our hotel partners.

DHISCO, in its original iteration as THISCO – The Hotel Industry Switch Company – was formed in 1989 by a group of hotel companies seeking a single connection to brick-and-mortar agents through global distribution systems.

Connections to those agents is just as important today, and we here at DHISCO remain committed to ensuring hotels and travel sellers of all kinds, in all parts of the globe, can continue to communicate accurately and efficiently though one easy connection.

- Toni Portmann