Research from ABTA released at the association’s travel convention taking place in Ponta Delgada, Azores, reveals that four in ten (38%) have used the services of a travel professional to book a holiday over the past 12 months.
According to ABTA’s Holiday Habits Report 2017, the top reasons for doing so include: to make booking easier, provide greater confidence and to save time.
Well-off and families with young children are the most likely to use travel professionals, with half (50%) of those in social grade A and 47% of those with children under five having used their services in the past year.
Almost half (48%) of respondents who used a travel professional stated that they did so to save time. This is especially true of 35-44 year olds (63%) and 25-34 year olds (56%), suggesting these age groups are the most time-pressured.
Wealthier customers are also more likely to give this as a reason for using travel professionals, with 64% of those classed as social grade A citing this. Six in ten people also gave ease of booking as a reason for using a travel professional; this increases with age, culminating with 75% of the over-65s.
More than six in ten (62%) of 18-24 year olds and 64% of those classed as social grade A stated that they felt more confident when booking with a travel professional.
Almost half of those with children under five (47%) and those with older children over five (44%) using their services in the past 12 months.
The number of overseas package holidays taken has remained steady, with 52% of respondents taking one in the past 12 months (53% in 2016), and it remains the single most popular booking option for foreign holidays. The top reason for booking a package is “having everything taken care of” with three-quarters of all respondents stating this. Among families, this is even more important, with eight out of ten families with children giving this as a reason.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said: “Holidays are a chance to relax and escape the day to day pressures and worries of life. Our research shows that even during booking, people want a stress-free experience and they particularly value the assistance of travel professionals in helping them to do so. Families and the well-off particularly value travel professionals’ experience and expertise. People also continue to appreciate the convenience of packages, with package holidays remaining the single most popular overseas holiday option, particularly for families.”