The industry has seen a big jump in new booking enquiries despite continued confusion over where and how consumers can travel, TTG’s latest Travel Agent Tracker has found.
Data from Week 14, ending 10 July, found 87% of respondents had acquired new booking enquiries in the past seven days, a spike of almost eight percentage points on the previous week.
Only 17% said booking enquiries were down, while 37% said levels of enquiries had stayed the same.
Agents’ comments were mixed, but some were very positive, with one saying: “Starting to get really busy.”
When it came to actual sales, 69% said they had made a booking in the past week and 39% said sales were up.
However, there are definite signs consumers are still confused and apprehensive about travelling.
“There is some interest in last minute staycations, but none of my clients are wanting to go overseas this year,” said one agent.
Another added: “The lack of clarity over safe destinations has not helped.”
Next year is looking a far safer bet in terms of sales. “Confidence is returning for next year but not for this,” said another respondent. Most blamed conflicting directives and advice from UK governments, with the Foreign Office only adding to the public’s confusion.
“The government continues to damage the trade through its mixed messaging and incompetence,” said one agent.
One crumb of comfort is that these messages far outweighed those from agents highlighting consumer concerns about conditions in resorts. Nevertheless, another respondent said clients were not prepared to be the first abroad and wanted “to see what happens when the first wave gets back”.
Once again, interest in domestic holidays exceeded 30%, but foreign beach holidays predictably topped the chart among 70% of agents. Interest in city breaks, however, continues to fall, as does cruise.
Although data was compiled only one day after the Foreign Office recommendation against all ocean and river cruise travel, last week already showed cruise slumping eight percentage points to 14%.