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Travel agents or technology? Travellers reveal the one they trust more

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A new study looking at American travel habits reveals that while consumers have been quick to embrace some emerging trends, they’ve been wary of accepting others.

According to new research from global market research group Mintel, over the last year 12% of Americans booked accommodations on a home-share website like Airbnb and HomeAway. That rises to 19% among Millennial travellers, which Mintel defines as a group aged 23-40.

Despite the plethora of third-party online booking providers like Expedia, Kayak, Booking and Hotels.com, the survey also showed that the most popular way to book a trip remains the traditional travel agency, with 40% of Americans working directly with an agent. That compares to 35% of consumers who booked through an online travel agency.

While consumers have been quick to embrace the convenience of self check-in kiosks, authors noted a reluctance and skepticism for technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence when it comes to travel planning.

One in four travellers said they have no interest in using VR, for instance, while 10% admitted they have no idea what VR is. Furthermore, nearly half (49% ) of consumers said they have no interest in using a travel chatbot.

“While we’re seeing new and innovative technology revolutionising the travel industry, much of these offerings are being met with hesitation from consumers,” said Mintel analyst John Poelking in a statement. “While services such as self-check-in kiosks give travellers a feeling of greater control over their trip, many travellers are skeptical of tools that force users to trust a computer with their plans.”

And when it comes to booking hotels and restaurants, there’s still nothing like word of mouth it seems, as 42% of travellers said they read peer reviews before travelling. – AFP Relaxnews

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