As revealed by Mintel at World Travel Market (WTM) in London, an experienced travel professional is becoming ever-more valuable as the demand for impartial and expert advice grows. As consumers turn away from online booking portals in search of a trustworthy knowledge source, Mintel – the world’s leading market intelligence agency - highlighted a ‘return to the experts’ as a key global trend emerging in travel over the past 18 months.
Speaking at the Global Consumer Trends seminar, Paul Davies, Category Director of Travel, Leisure and Food Service research, said: “In so many ways digital has many advantages when it comes to the holiday market but actually we are seeing some people rebel against that and still choose a provider who can give them face-to-face or telephone access.”
Mintel’s research found that 31% of consumers trusted the quality of a holiday booked through a travel agent compared with booking online and 21% would be willing to pay an expert an annual fee to help them book or plan all their holidays.
Notably, these figures are higher for a younger market, with 38% of millennials trusting the quality of a holiday booked through an agent and 30% are willing to pay an annual fee for the service, which increases to 59% for holidays which are tailor-made to their preferences.
In response to the confusing array of alluring travel products, crowded review forums and dubious comparison sites that exist online, the market research giant also revealed that consumers are seeking out independent travel experts as a hassle-free, ‘one-stop’ shop to book their next holiday - and they are willing to pay for that service too.
Once they’ve found their travel expert, consumers are demanding more unique and unconventional holidays, tailored to their exact preferences, and a highly personalised booking experience. When it comes to a high-value trip or specific holiday type such as adventure or cruise, 27% of UK adults would be interested in using an agent for this purpose.
And with 56% of UK adults agreeing that booking a package takes the hassle out of going on holiday, Mr Davies said “We see the package holiday market as the next market to really benefit from personalisation. We forecast growth in the package holiday market of 9% over the next five years but over that same time we believe independent holiday providers will see stronger growth.”
With a desire for trust, personalised travel experiences and an effortless booking process driving consumer behaviour, Travel Counsellors are perfectly placed to benefit from these emerging trends.
Our innovative business model empowers our business owners to provide the level of service their customers crave and create tailor-made packages through our intuitive booking platform, Phenix, - which is continually developed according to the requirements of our Travel Counsellors. Mintel supports our conviction in the value of the human relationships which cannot be replicated solely by online providers.