New York Times: Are Travel Agents Back?
"An improving economy and the corporate travel that goes with it seem to be converging with a population for whom booking travel online has become increasingly onerous and time-consuming. Just how time-consuming? Steve Peterson, the global travel and transportation leader for the I.B.M. Institute for Business Value, set out to answer that very question. In a survey of more than 2,000 travelers worldwide, 20 percent said it took them more than five hours to search and book travel online. Nearly half said it required more than two hours." ... "Agents today also know they must set themselves apart from the Web by offering special experiences that consumers can’t easily get on their own, like after-hours tours of the Sistine Chapel, tee times on P.G.A. golf courses normally closed to the public or the ability to pull some strings to get clients into that sold-out hotel or on the next flight out when bad weather strikes." Read the full article.