New research by Midcounties Co-operative’s homeworking division predicts a rise in demand for traditional travel agents.

The survey of more than 1,000 existing customers and non-customers showed 79% of respondents would be more inclined to book with an agent in future due to the impact of Covid-19 on taking an overseas holiday.

Of those who would have booked travel themselves online pre-Covid, 58% said they would switch to an agent in future.

The poll, conducted from September 4-11, said 85% of customers missed a holiday in 2020 due to Covid-19, with 73% planning a holiday in the coming year. Of those, 22% would go even if they have to quarantine and 51% if they don’t have to.

Sheena Whittle, head of The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel, which has more than 160 homeworking agents, said: “The expertise and financial protection that booking with a travel agent provides has never been more crucial to holidaymakers than it is right now.

“Our survey shows that customers are eager to get away on holiday but are concerned and confused by the quarantine rules and the ever changing FCO advice.

“As a result, they are seeking out trusted travel agents to help them decide where and how to holiday; to remove the headache of having to cancel or amend a holiday booking, should travel restrictions come into force; and to give them peace of mind that their money is protected and they will be taken care of if some something goes wrong.

“This presents a real opportunity for our Personal Travel Agents and agents across the board, to show their worth and really expand their customer bases.”

In terms of the type of holidays customers wanted, 78% chose beach over city breaks (34%), cruises (17%) and touring holidays (10%).

Europe was the most popular destination with 78%, followed by the Caribbean at 25%, the US at 19%, Indian Ocean/Africa at 14% and Dubai/Arabia at 9%.

The survey also showed 56% of respondents said they planned to take both an overseas and a UK holiday in 2021.