The ITAA Affiliate Council recently polled all licensed travel agencies on current realities and future plans for their business. The survey was conducted at the end of September 2020 and drew largely positive results given the current situation with Covid-19, proving the resilient and optimistic nature of Irish travel agents.
Research showed that 85% of respondents’ clients would consider overseas travel in 2021, with Europe being the most sought after destination with 85% approval. Travel agents are confident in selling 2021 in particular and are aiming for a better sales experience for customers in relation to bookings – refundable deposits, flexible cancellations and a quick turnaround on refunds a priority. The evidence gathered supported the need for change fees to be waived, including name changes on bookings.
Over half of the survey respondents are still open to welcoming new suppliers to their business on a sales call. However, 42% of agents stated that they would prefer a Zoom or video call, creating a new opportunity for suppliers that allows for the use of better sales tools such as destination images and videos.
Overall the survey revealed that there is confidence in the future of international travel, with bookings coming in for the latter half of next year. The Council believes that these bookings could be increased if customers were offered incentives such as low deposits on bookings. Survey figures show that 40% of agents are currently open for business, with 60% of agents expected to be open by the end of the year.
ITAA Board Member Alan Lynch, who acts as the Association’s representative on the Affiliate Council, said: “We were delighted with the number of responses received to our survey, and by the positive feedback represented in the data, which has shown that consumer confidence in travel is once again on the rise.”
The Irish Travel Agents Association formed its Affiliate Council in July 2020 to act as a representative body for the Association’s affiliate members. The council is made up of five members: Mary Denton of Sunway Holidays, Niall McDonnell of Classic Collection Holidays, Jennifer Callister of Royal Caribbean, Bev Hart of Bookabed, and Alan Sparling of ASM Ireland.
For further information on the ITAA Affiliate Council, email [email protected]
To become an affiliate member of the ITAA, visit itaa.ie/become-an-affiliate/