At first glance, one may think that the travel planning industry has permanently shifted online with only a handful of brick-and-mortar agencies still operating. But as the adage goes, too many ingredients spoil the broth, and according to an article published in Time Magazine's business section, that's exactly what's happened to the online travel industry.
In the mid-1990s, there were approximately 34,000 travel agencies in the United States, but that number has dropped to 15,000 today, the publication says. It's easy to deduce that since most Americans have been making their vacation arrangements online in the past decade, the number of physical agencies has declined significantly.
However, brick-and-mortar agencies have actually displayed growth for the last two years and currently represent a third of the American travel market.
This is, in part, due to an improving economy, increased consumer spending and an expanding demographic of travelers who are willing to pay high price for custom worldwide travel. Primarily, though, the source explained, that trip planners who go online to book vacations have been deterred due to the overwhelming number of websites to choose from.
"No one is predicting that travel agents will rise up to once again dominate the travel business," the magazine explained in a recent article. "But, the more complex the world becomes – a complexity often created by the internet – the more likely it is that an increasing number of consumers in all manner of sectors will seek more personal retail or commercial experiences."