New research has revealed that nearly half of British respondents (47%) have not visited a travel agent in the past ten years. In fact, 20% of adults say they have never been inside a travel agent branch. Amongst under 35s, the figure rises to a third (33%) and increases to a huge 70% for under 25s. The average Brit last visited a travel agent 6.5 years ago.
The decline can largely be put down to the increase in those now booking holidays online. Nearly three quarters (73%) say they booked their last holiday online, 4% of which booked it on their phone, rising to 7% for under 35s.
The study, conducted by travel search engine KAYAK.co.uk, was carried out amongst 1,007 adults in the UK, between 10-14 January 2019.
“A huge shift to online”
John-Lee Saez, managing director for KAYAK Europe, commented: “There has been a huge shift to online in recent years when it comes to booking travel and travel agents are realising this and increasingly investing in their online offering.”
Why are they booking online?
Booking online is simply just ‘easier’ for half of the respondents (50%). A third (31%) say you can find everything a travel agent has online, whilst nearly a quarter (22%) say it is because travel agents are more expensive.
Just 18% of Brits have been into a travel agent in the past year – either to book or to simply get advice. Amongst those who use travel agents, 38% said they do so as they like to talk to someone in person, whilst a quarter (25%) say they feel more ‘reassured’ if someone else books it for them.
However, 15% admitted they just liked the experience and 13% went as far as to say they simply like the attention they get from those who work there.
“Prices are key”
Saez concluded: “In the online space, prices are key and the online market is very driven by this. Therefore, travel agents that want to compete will need to have a big eye on the prices they offer, as travel search engines such as KAYAK are increasingly putting the power into the consumer’s hands, showing them the best prices from the whole online travel marketplace with one search.”