New research released by ABTA at its convention in Croatia today has revealed that six out of ten consumers (62%) have booked an overseas holiday with a travel agent or tour operator in the last 12 months.
One in five (19%) booked through a High Street agent and a quarter booked with a travel agent online (23%) and one in five directly with a tour operator (20%). For domestic holidays a third (33%) booked at least one holiday with a travel agent or tour operator.
The research also revealed that a quarter (24%) of 16-24 year olds booked at least one overseas holiday through a High Street travel agent.
Travel agents’ expertise also scores particularly highly amongst the younger generation with more than four out of ten 16-24 year olds (44%) saying that they value the services that a travel agent offers. 16-24 year olds also feel strongly that using a travel professional can save them time (62%) and money (52%) as well as making the booking process easy (64%).
Other findings from the survey revealed that 55-64 year olds were the only age group to take more holidays per person in the 12 months to 2013 compared to the same period the previous year. This correlates with an increase in the number of 55-64 year olds booking at least one holiday abroad directly with a tour operator, with 28% making this type of booking compared to 23% in the previous year’s study.
Victoria Bacon, the association's head of communications, said: “It is clear from our findings that consumers are making full use of all of the booking options available to them. Travel agents and tour operators play a vital role in helping consumers to research and book holidays with two thirds of consumers using their services when booking their overseas holidays. Goodwill towards travel professionals is particularly strong amongst younger consumers so it is important travel businesses build on this, as these customers mature. ”