Travel agents are picking up business from consumers “who have had their fingers burnt” when their DIY (Do it Yourself) bookings ran into problems during Covid-19, according to professionals speaking during a session held on Wednesday at the WTM London 2021 tourism exhibition.
Julie Pinkney, Retail Director of the Travel Network Group, a UK agency consortium, said the company is seeing a return among ex-customers as well as brand-new clients who previously booked direct.
“Last year, there was so much chopping and changing, so much confusion. It was so complex to navigate,” she said, during a session titled “Who Will be the Winners in Travel Retail?”.
According to Pinkney, an increase in high-end holidays and long-haul travel is being recorded, while booking volumes for socially-distanced and multigenerational holidays are on the up.
“Package bucket and spade holidays took longer to come back but are resurging now,” she added.
On his part, Jim Eastwood, Global Sales Director at Travel Counsellors, said “instant travel” is a major trend, adding that people want to know: “Can I go now, can I go safely, can I go quickly? Can I get back before anything changes?”
“People are going for private transfers, extra legroom, and opting for a villa instead of staying in resort,” Eastwood highlighted.
Meanwhile, Gecko Digital Founder and CEO James South said he has identified “much more of a trend towards socially distanced holidays, short lead-in times, and longer holidays. People are much more choosey,” he said.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) is an official media partner of WTM London.