New research from ABTA – The Travel Association shows a growing trend for holidaymakers seeking the security and reassurance of booking a package holiday with a travel professional this year. And while the research is limited to the opinions and experiences of UK consumers, the findings offer a sliver of optimism to travel professionals throughout these islands.
ABTA’s data finds that people are 31 per cent more likely to book a package holiday now than before the pandemic, primarily to be looked after in case something goes wrong (51 per cent) and for financial protection (49 per cent).
Package holidays provide the greatest level of protection for holidaymakers, including the right to a replacement holiday or a refund if the holiday is significantly altered by a change in the situation at their destination. By booking a package holiday, travellers also get great value for money and have a single point of contact for their travel arrangements, so if they require any advice and assistance before they go on holiday or while they are there, the travel company is there to help.
Value of a Travel Agent
Holidaymakers are also placing a great deal of value on the services provided by a travel professional such as a travel agent. ABTA’s figures show that people are also 28 per cent more likely to use a travel professional now than before the pandemic.
The main reasons show once again the importance of feeling protected and reassured, with half citing the security of a package holiday (50 per cent) as why they would book with a travel professional, followed by trusting travel companies to look after them (48 per cent), and the travel professional’s up-to-date advice (42%). ABTA Members are reporting enquiries coming from new customers who haven’t booked with them before.
As part of their service, travel professionals take customers through everything they need to know about their holiday, give them the latest advice for their destination, and keep them up to date on any changes that will affect their plans. The knowledge and expertise of travel professionals will be invaluable in helping customers understand how, in light of the pandemic, international travel will be different compared to when they last holidayed abroad.
Despite Restrictions, Consumers Still Want to Travel Overseas
Holidaymakers remain committed to getting away overseas, with 63 per cent of people saying they hope to book a holiday abroad in the next six months or longer.
Graeme Buck, Director of Communications at ABTA – The Travel Association said: “Travel professionals and package holidays have an important role to play in helping people feel reassured and confident to book and travel this year, and we’re seeing more and more people turning to them as they plan their holidays.
“Over the last 12 months there has been a lot of uncertainty around international travel, with holidays having to be changed or postponed, but there is a lot of pent-up demand for holidays. People are increasingly recognising that they can get great value for money, added protection and the benefit of having someone else plan their holiday or make changes if needed further down the line.”
(Photo by JESHOOTS.COM)