There's a report on Skift, a travel industry news site, that says that a recent survey shows that about 2/3 of U.S. travelers think they can do better buying from the "brand" rather than an agency, and that only 15% trust online travel agencies to get them the best price.
Where do you fall in that spectrum? What makes you do what you do?
For myself, I hadn't thought too much about my own buying patterns until I read the article. But over the past 20+ years of traveling, I've seen the big shift from brick-and-mortar travel agencies and call centers to online shopping and online travel agencies such as Expedia.
Looking at my own patterns, I find a mix: When I buy airline tickets (other than awards), I always use the OTAs and search engines to find what's there, but then I switch to the airline's site for the booking; I'd rather not have someone in between if there are changes or problems.
Lodging I almost always book through an agency, either Airbnb or booking.com, depending on whether I'm looking for an apartment or a hotel. It's certainly a big plus over where I started, with trans-Atlantic faxes, scratchy phone calls and wire transfers!
And cars are a mix. Between AAA and USAA, I get good discounts from Hertz and a couple of others, but when the price seems high, I've used Priceline's Name Your Own Price bidding system to keep the cost low.
And while they're not a matter of buying the meal, I do love OpenTable and LaFourchette (The Fork) for freeing me from hours of calling and re-calling and sitting on hold for restaurant reservations.