Agents have been urged to offer “better deals to more locations” to offset Brexit concerns during the crucial peaks period.
Accountancy firm KPMG issued the warning on Monday, stating the “main issue keeping tour operators awake at night will be the immediate impact of Brexit on holiday bookings”.
It follows a recent KPMG survey conducted with 4,000 UK consumers, which found 58% expect travel between the EU and UK to be “difficult” post March 29 while 55% anticipate flight delays and cancellations in the event of a no deal.
Will Hawkley, global head of leisure and hospitality at KPMG in the UK said: “The most immediate worry is the effect on bookings for Easter, one of the busiest times of year for travel abroad. With many commentators anticipating disruption reaching its peak in the month following 29th March this is likely to hit Easter travel plans hard.
“One of the options available to tour operators is to focus their deals and offers on holidays outside of the EU in order to protect their margins and to help customers to still book the spring sunshine trip they have become accustomed to.
“For travel agents to make the most of this period they must ensure that their contingency plans are particularly focussed on customer experience excellence – many customers will now be valuing reassurance and security as much as fun and excitement in their booking criteria.
“In practice this means agents offering better deals to more locations, giving practical advice on bookings and ensuring they are available when holidaymakers have questions. Helping customers through any disruption with as little upset and emotion as possible will go a long way to ensuring repeat bookings and recommendations.”
The warning comes despite agents reporting a positive start to the peaks period, telling TTG they were optimistic of a strong peak booking period, with early demand appearing to outweigh consumer uncertainty in the lead-up to Brexit.
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