A snap-shot survey of AITO Specialist Travel Agents has revealed 62% of respondents are very or extremely confident of a successful year to come.The study also highlighted positive sales figures with 46% of members who took part saying they have experienced a good or extremely good start to 2011.
The findings of the survey follow an appraisal last year which showed 89% of respondents reported more clients were booking with them in 2010.
They back the association’s belief that consumers are coming back to the travel agent as they tire of DIY holidays and seek reassurance and financial peace of mind in the wake of events such as the ash cloud, BA strikes and the collapse of travel companies.
The study also affirmed the importance of independent status among agents, where 60% of respondents identified their independence as an 'extremely important selling point', and more than 80% said membership of AITO Agents was very or extremely important to their business. The figures have been released alongside the association's rebranding which features a new logo that will become the group’s ‘kitemark’ to underline its key values of quality, expertise and independence.
The association's chair, Oliver Broad, said: “I firmly believe independent travel agents occupy, and will continue to occupy, a strong position in the marketplace as clients seek that all important personal service from well-travelled and highly trained experts.
“Why spend hours on comparison and review Websites when an agent, with their finger firmly of the travel pulse, can provide an informed and honest opinion in person? Our figures indicate that for many people, going back to the travel agent is now the right way to book their holidays. By AITO Agents sharing our skills, continuing to innovate and through closer co-operation with AITO operators, I’m confident 2011 will live up to expectations.”
Meanwhile, the association has launched new branding with a new logo acting as its own ‘kitemark’ to reinforce the group’s key attributes of quality, expertise and independence. The logo will be used in a new annual membership window sticker scheme, where a year-dated sticker must be put on display to reassure customers they are visiting a signed-up member of AITO Specialist Travel Agents.
For more information visit www.aitoagents.com or call 020-8744 9271.