Agents Make Their Presence Known

ASTA Study Finds Social Media Use Increased, But Value Still Unclear


In its 2013 Technology and Web Usage Report, ASTA found that the percentage of agencies that have a social media presence increased to 80% of respondents, however, agencies continue to be unsure of the value with almost 39% of social media users viewing it as not useful or proven. At the same time those seeing it as an effective tool have increased suggesting a dichotomy is forming between agencies that value it and those that do not.

ASTA CEO, Zane Kerby observed that: “Agencies are finding that new technology can be used to their advantage with many using social media to connect with their clients, demonstrate personal expertise, and reach new consumers. Technology changes have always allowed agencies to adapt and grow and better serve the traveling public.”

ASTA’s study also revealed that three quarters of agencies are no longer in the “learning” mode on how to use social media. There is a sense that most agencies feel they have a good handle on the technical aspects of social media, but not on the usefulness. Only 17% viewed social media as essential to their business and a larger 22% felt it was “nice to be there.”

Primary goals with social media are shifting from general awareness to expanding customer base and communicating with current clients.

The ASTA study also looked at:

  • The role of the GDS in providing mobile aps and search tools for many agencies.
  • The fear of agencies that they won’t keep up with changes.
  • Replacing older equipment.
  • The need for many to upgrade their email broadcasting software.
  • Online booking trends and web sites used by agents.

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