Travel agents vs online booking

One of the greatest conundrums when booking a holiday is: do you book online or with a travel agent?

While booking a weekend trip to Brisbane with accommodation may not seem difficult, booking a three-week overseas holiday with connecting flights, accommodation and transfers can be quite challenging, and most likely out of the scope of many would-be online bookers.

The YourLifeChoices Insights Survey 2019 posed the question: Which of the following travel purchases will you make online in the next 12 months? Of the 5263 people who answered, 70 per cent said airfares, 64 per cent said accommodation, 49 per cent said travel insurance, 24 per cent said cruises, and 23 per cent said tours.

Such a response may lead you to think that online booking is favoured over booking through an agent, but according to the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracking Survey, of the respondents who booked an overseas holiday in the last 12 months to December 2017, 42.5 per cent of Australians turn to travel agents, with only 15.5 per cent using travel booking websites.


“Travel agents operate in a highly competitive industry, having to contend with a complex marketplace such as bricks and mortar shops, online, and surging technologies such as Airbnb,” said Roy Morgan Chief Executive Michele Levine.

“The popularity of online comparison websites when planning a holiday is continuing to trend upward, with websites like,, and Qantas being visited the most in an average four-week period.

“The Travel Agent Monitor Market Indicator Report benefits travel agents, tour operators, and online-only travel booking websites by tracking their performance over time relative to their competitors in terms of brand awareness, advertising awareness, usage, consideration and loyalty. The report also shows how the internet has changed the way Australians are booking their holiday and leisure travel, and details which travel websites Australians have visited in the last 4 weeks.”

Do you book online or use a travel agent? Why?

Related articles:
Money-saving tips from travel agents
Flight booking mistakes
Do I save by booking directly?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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