Agents have seen an increase in enquiries but this has yet to translate into a rise in bookings as customers remain nervous about committing to a holiday with the continued uncertainty about international travel.
The latest TTG Travel Agent Tracker, covering the two weeks from 12-25 June, found 91% of agents had received enquiries during the fortnight – up by 11 percentage points from the previous fortnight’s level of 80%, which was a 2021 low.
Also encouraging was that 45% of respondents had received an increase in enquiries from the previous fortnight, compared with just 29% who saw a rise in the last tracker. Meanwhile, the number of agents who said enquiries had fallen was only 22% compared with 45% earlier in June.
But unfortunately for the trade, this increased interest in holidays from consumers has yet to translate into new bookings for agencies, which declined on average.
While the average number of new enquiries within the two-week period, up to 25 June, rose from 17 to 19, average bookings fell from 13 to 11 over the same timescale – the widest disparity between the two measures since this question was introduced to the tracker in May.
The lack of consumer confidence to book is also reflected by the fact that only 70% of respondents took at least one booking during the fortnight – this was down from 75% earlier in June and was just four points above the lows seen at the start of 2021 when the UK was in lockdown.
Just over one-third (34%) of respondents said bookings had risen during the two weeks, while 37% said they had remained the same and 29% had seen a fall in sales.
The latest survey, which was sent out the day after the government’s latest traffic light system review last week, was completed by 84 respondents.
It found that 52% of agents thought the UK government’s decision to place 15 of the 16 additions on to the green watchlist would cause even more uncertainty for consumers.
None of the agents believed the proposed relaxation of quarantine rules for fully vaccinated travellers returning from amber countries would “save the summer”, with 56% saying that it wouldn’t, and 44% saying it was too early to predict.