The ABTA 2012 Consumer Travel Trends Survey has found that in the last three years there has been a 10% increase in people booking an overseas holiday through their high street travel agent, with 27% of people now using this method to book.
The percentage of people booking a foreign holiday through a high street travel agent has grown from 17% in 2010, to 25% in 2011 and 27% in 2012. In addition, the percentage of people booking a domestic holiday through a high street travel agent has almost doubled in a year, from 8% in 2011 to 13% in 2012.
Consumer sentiment towards travel agents also appears to have become more positive over the past twelve months. Customers appear to be rediscovering the benefits and skills of travel agents with the number that value their services climbing from 30% to 40% in the last twelve months. Women are particularly positive towards travel agents with 43% of women saying they value their services, higher than men at 37%.
Younger Generation Travel Agents’ Biggest Fans
45% of 15-24 year olds value the services of a travel agent, up from 30% in 2011. One of the key drivers behind this increase appears to be younger people valuing high street travel agents’ ability to find what they need and offer advice on new destinations and activities. More than half [52%] of this age group also believe that travel agents are good at finding what customers need, up from 36% in 2011.
The younger generation and those a little more mature, also share a growing desire for the personal touch, with four in ten of 15-44 year olds in 2012 stating that they prefer the reassurance of dealing with someone face-to-face when booking; in 2011 this was only true of one in four of this age group. This is perhaps a reflection of the growing need of the digital generation for guidance and help with the bewildering choice available on the internet.
Victoria Bacon ABTA Head of Communications said “It is increasingly apparent that people are realising the benefits of what a travel agent can offer. The Internet has been fantastic in opening up choice but the survey shows that consumers value the help of a human being and the reassurance of dealing with someone face to face.”