New research from travel association ABTA shows a growing trend for holidaymakers seeking the security and reassurance of booking a package holiday with a travel professional this year.
As consumers wait to hear from the Prime Minister on 5 April about plans for restarting international travel, ABTA’s data finds that people are 31% more likely to book a package holiday now than before the pandemic, primarily to be looked after in case something goes wrong (51%) and for financial protection (49%).
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.
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% 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%) as why they would book with a travel professional, followed by trusting travel companies to look after them (48%), 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.
Holidaymakers remain committed to getting away overseas, with 63% of people saying they hope to book a holiday abroad in the next six months or longer.
Graeme Buck, director of communications at ABTA 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.”
On top of the usual protections of a package holiday, many ABTA members are also offering additional flexible cancellation and rebooking policies to help holidaymakers have the confidence to book and enjoy having something to look forward to after a difficult 12 months.
ABTA has prepared ten top tips to take holidaymakers through everything they need to know to book with confidence this year, which can be found here.