By Matthew Knott, News Editor of Study Travel Magazine

Today’s news story reports on a newly released industry survey that highlights the level of customer service provided by agents and their importance to the youth and student travel sectors more generally.

Although the published research by the World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation actually dates back to a survey of 769 companies conducted in 2012, some of the results are timeless validations of the agency model.

Take, for example, the fact that the average time spent with a client considering a higher education course abroad was 17 hours, which the report noted was far higher than would be expected at a general travel agent or in other industries.

Another statistic in the report underscored the enduring value of face-to-face interaction with an agent when it comes to making a decision about something as important as a study abroad course. Many of us may have booked holidays completely through online transactions, and indeed only 17 per cent of agents’ first contact with a client was through walk-in, according to the survey. Yet 63 per cent of clients ultimately booked their programme in person at an agency office.

At this point it is worth remembering that the student usually gets this service for no extra cost than if they booked the course directly with the provider.

And whilst considering commissions, these were cited by the agents participating in the survey as a relatively low level determinant in the overall list of factors that inform a programme recommendation to a client, far behind location, cost of the tuition to the client, accreditation and admission requirements.

It was pleasing to read such a positive endorsement of the agency business.

Elsewhere this week, we have the news stories of new school openings and partnerships, and some useful tips for agents looking to build a profile in the local media from a PR company involved in the study travel industry in this week’s ‘View from the desk of’.

Print This Page Close Window Archive