Holidaymakers are 20% more likely to use a travel professional than before the pandemic, according to new research from Abta.
Abta’s new report, Six Trends for Travel in 2021, reveals that the main two reasons for consumers using an agent or operator are the security of a package holiday (41%) and travel professionals’ up-to-date advice (40%).
UK consumers have also been turning to agents for new ideas and destinations (up to 27% this year from 20% in 2019), particularly for families with children aged over five.
Package holidays should continue to be popular in 2021, with nearly 23% saying they booked packages for financial protection while 19% said they wanted to be “looked after” if something went wrong. Both figures were higher than last year.
The report reveals a recent increase in UK consumers looking to book a holiday over the coming year, with 62% hoping to book an overseas break in the next six months – up from a figure of 52% in August.
Mark Tanzer, Abta’s chief executive, said: “The severe restrictions that have been placed on international travel this year have clearly led to pent-up demand, with many people hoping to get away in the coming year.
“I’m delighted to see that an increasing number of holidaymakers plan to turn to travel professionals to help them book their much-deserved trips, which is testament to the immense efforts of our members to help their customers through this crisis, often in exceptionally difficult circumstances.”
The report also identifies five other trends including the return to “old favourites” such as Spain, France, US, Italy and Greece in 2021, as well as more consumers wanting to visit places on their “bucket lists”.
Abta also says there is an increased desire for more country escapes from consumers and cruise fans remain committed to getting back onboard ships with many already booking ahead to 2022.
Sustainability is another theme with consumers “increasingly conscious of the impact their holiday has on the places they visit and the people who live there”. Abta adds the growing demand for responsible travel has been “consolidated” during the pandemic.