Humans are still crucial in securing sales for travel agencies despite huge investments in technology, research has found.
Analysis of 139 travel agency websites by Talkative found that the majority still direct customers to call their experts, rather than push them to book online.
The call specialist says this was particularly evident in luxury holiday bookings.
All the the agencies that were analysed had consumer-facing websites but only 45% took online bookings.
Almost all had a phone service and 55% of the companies were operating solely as call centres.
Web chat was provided by 55% of the agencies, which had a 72% success rate.
Around a third used YouTube for video marketing.
Talkative also found that websites were often inefficient. On average, sites took four seconds to load and were around 3.4MB in size, shifting to 1.4MB and 4.4 seconds for product pages.
Managing director Felix Winstone said: “We think the research shows that humans are still key for selling holidays. Despite a lot of time and effort invested in website design and online processes, the majority of agencies still direct potential customers to call their expert advisors.
“This guidance towards a human sales process was particularly prevalent with the more luxurious (and presumably expensive) agencies. Holidays are a discretionary purchase. The human ability to connect with a customer on an emotional level that is absent with online booking engines should not be underestimated.”