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Travel Agents Struggle to Market Against Online Travel Giants

At a time when consumers are more inundated with distractions and marketing than ever before, it’s a challenge for travel companies to connect with potential customers.

It’s an especially large challenge for travel agents in particular, since most agencies have moved away from the traditional brick-and-mortar storefront into a home-based or remote model facilitated by technology. Since travel agents are more likely than ever to be working from the living room sofa or local Starbucks, how exactly can consumers find them?

Schensul: Why travelers are returning to travel agents

No one is more likely to drown in a tsunami of information than the DIY travel planner.

Sure it was fun, empowering, often money-saving in the early days, when online travel agencies like Expedia and Travelocity became a presence on the Web for price-shopping, and TripAdvisor, CruiseCritic and Hotels.com became fonts of reviews and opinions.

From agent to agent, advice on selling cruises (and more)

By Laura Del Rosso

Lori Berberian Pelentay is not ashamed to say she uses old-fashioned binders and paper reservations forms to keep track of her bookings, client payments and such.

"Computers crash," she said. "I'm a tactile person, and I need to see the paper in front of me. When I look at my booking form I see in a moment what I need to see. It's a system that works for me, so why change?"

Specialist: Consider the 'whole escape experience' when booking golf vacations

Golf vacation specialist Dan Brantley concedes that Hawaii isn't the most popular destination for most of his clients, but said his business to the Islands is improving and the Aloha State is a wonderful place for serious duffers to plan a trip. The Dallas-based travel adviser, who works at Virtuoso agency Rudi Steele Travel, spoke recently with contributing editor Shane Nelson about how Hawaii stacks up with other popular golf destinations, some golf-vacation sales tips and the most popular courses across Hawaii for his clients.

Acqualina's New Family Travel App Underscores A Trend Back To Traditional Travel Agents

The trend towards technology being developed to help agents better serve consumers as opposed to promoting direct bookings has been on the rise. TripScope is an app launched last year by a former travel agent that agents can use to help clients book group travel. Even seemingly simple friends getaways can be complicated. Think about going to Las Vegas with seven friends. Some want to do the spa. Others want to play golf. Three of your friends want to take a helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon, but everyone else thinks it’s too expensive. One friend is bringing her mom. Another is bringing her boyfriend for two nights. Collecting the money and coordinating even a “simple” trip like this can be time consuming, tedious and strain relations with those friends you were looking forward to partying with.

OK, you're an expert. But are you a designer of life?

"Breakfast at Tiffany's"; it was breakfast at Tiffany's. At 8:15 a.m., Linda Allen of Harrison, Ark., was standing in front of a display case filled with glittering bijoux of every shade, cut and clarity, surrounded by people sipping champagne and nibbling on passed plates topped with caviar and gold leaf.

Everyone also held a baby-blue bag with a white cord that had been handed to them as they entered.