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Bucket list trips, strong Europe sales: travel agent survey tracks trends

PORTLAND — More than a third of clients seek out travel agents to help book ‘bucket list’ trips, according to a new poll.

Conducted by Auto Europe, the survey polled travel agents in Canada and the U.S. about trends in the marketplace as well as their clients’ preferences in destination selection and transportation options while travelling.

The majority of travel agents said they still find themselves helping smaller groups of two to three travellers who plan trips several months in advance, with fewer than 15% of clients planning last-minute vacations within a month before departure.

Agents also said that more than 60% of their clients come to them with their destination in mind, with their ‘bucket list’ being the primary selection driver.

The second most common source for choosing a destination was a recommendation from friends, family or travel influencers.

More than three-quarters (76%) of travel agents also said they’re still seeing strong Europe sales, reporting that the same number or more of their clients plan to travel to Europe in the next 12 months compared to last year.

Auto Europe has a series of tools including Road Trip Planners and Travel Guides for top destinations for clients who want to rent a car in their destination.

“We have a long-standing relationship with our travel agent partners and continually learn from them about travel and booking trends,” said Auto Europe’s Vice President of Sales, Robert Ardino. “We value their insights and we’re encouraged to hear that the main attributes that motivate agents to continue to use Auto Europe is our high level of service along with the availability of cars in locations convenient to client itineraries.”

Ardino also noted that agent booking preferences in the survey ranged from online to over the phone to the GDS, “which illustrates the continued need for travel companies to support travel agents across all channels.”