By Shaun Busuttil @shaunbusuttil10 Dec 2015Are travel agents still relevent for a generation that grew up with the likes of Expedia, Skyscanner and other online travel booking websites? According to a new survey, it’s a hell yeah! Counterintuitive? Sure. Surprising? Very. Great news for travel agents? Definitely. Before we move on, let’s define our terms. Who exactly is a millennial? A millennial belongs to the Generation Y cohort that includes everyone that was born between the early 80s and the early 2000s – basically the 15 to 35 demographic. Clear? Great. Let’s get onto the juicy part then. So according to MMGY Global’s 2014 Portrait of the American Traveler, the most online generation is also the group most likely to use a travel agent. The report found that 28 percent of millennials surveyed in February 2014 had used a travel agent in the previous 12 months, compared with 15 percent of Gen X consumers (born between the early 1960s to the early 1980s), 13 percent of baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and 21 percent of matures (the older ones). Interestingly, the same report found that the millennial generation were by far the most knowledgeable consumers of the pack. Moving forward, the MMGY study found that 30 percent of millennials would use a travel agent in the next two years, compared to 19 percent of Generation Xers, 16 percent of boomers, and 27 percent of matures. The same group is also travelling more, with 61 percent found to have planned a trip in the first half of this year, compared to 54 percent in 2014 – the largest growth of any generation within the period. Sustainability was found to be very important for millennials, with tour companies like G Adventures – who use locally owned accommodations, restaurants and tour guides to boost the local economy with minimal impact to the environment – particularly popular. Doing volunteer work while on holiday was also appealing to millennials. “They want something that is local and ethnic…things that make them feel really in touch with the environment they’re visiting.” Alexa Bermudez, travel consultant, Moraga Travel, California When asked why they would turn to travel agents to help them book their travels, millennials cited getting the biggest bang for their buck, leveraging on the agents’ destination expertise, and getting all the nitty-gritty details about tours and activities as important reasons. What do you think of these survey results? Are you noticing a similar trend in Australia? Other stories you may like BARCELONA: TOUR OPERATORS WILL NOT SUSPEND UPCOMING VISITS WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN THE AVIS SCHOLARSHIP & A FREE TRIP THIS YEAR? TRAVEL AGENTS VERSUS FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: WHO WORKS HARDER?