Despite speculation of an economic slowdown in the UK, 82% of UK leisure travel agents predict they will increase bookings during the first three months of 2006, compared to 56% of business travel agents. This is according to the latest Amadeus snap poll in which more than 185 UK leisure and business travel agents and industry professionals were surveyed about how they felt the travel industry would perform at the start of next year.
For the 82% of UK leisure agents who felt business was looking positive for 2006:
Almost a third expected sales to increase by 5%
Almost two fifths said they predicted sales to increase by 10%
Almost a third felt sales would increase by 20%
Of the 56% of UK business travel agents who felt bookings would rise in 2006:
More than a third forecasted sales to rise by 5%
Over two fifths said they thought sales would increase by 10%
Just under a fifth expected to see rises in sales of 20%
When asked what types of holiday’s customers were booking earlier and later this year compared to last:
á Summer holidays came out on top with 66% of customers booking ahead compared to last year.
á Christmas breaks are also enjoying advanced bookings this year according to 55% of respondents.
á However, consumers looking to escape the winter blues were booking Winter sun holidays later in 2005, according to 60% of respondents.
á Similarly, Ski holidays were being booked later according to 65% of respondents.
Other interesting facts revealed from the latest survey included:
á More than a third of agents claimed that due to the growing popularity of elements such as cruise and fly-drive holidays, over 10% of all bookings now include a non-air component to them.
1 When asked why consumers still use their trusted travel agent:
á 75% claimed it was because customers felt agents had superior industry knowledge
1 69% said agents demonstrate the ability to pull together complicated itineraries
2 61% said travel agents are destination experts
3 46% said despite the ease of self booking, travel agents still get clients the best deals
Elaine Seeto, Amadeus UK’s director of marketing said: “Despite increased fuel costs, most travel agents in our survey are reporting healthy forward bookings for the New Year. UK travel agents have a strong self-belief in the benefits of booking with professionals as opposed to DIY channels. Some respondents say one of the main benefits of travel agency bookings is their pro-active support, such as crisis management, which we saw in action during last year’s Asian Tsunami. One certainty is that all the while travel agents continue focusing on delivering what is of value to their customers, they will remain an integral part of the UK travel experience.”