Sarah Longbottom, Travel Weekly editorThe impact of the recent downpours and floods has been far-reaching on the travel trade with many agents and tour operators directly affected.

Travel professionals have once again proven their resilience in a time of crisis, with agents ensuring their office is manned even if that means they are without water or electricity.

The wider-reaching implications will be affecting travel providers across the country as last-minute changes abound.

Consumers who had been inclined to stay home this summer, put off by lengthy security checks at airports, are balking at the thought of yet more bad weather and are snapping up late bookings abroad.

Thanks to the storms, telephone and Internet enquiries and bookings are rising as fast as the water levels in some areas, which is a great opportunity for agents and operators.

On the other hand, holidaymakers who have been, or could be, hit by the floods are now reluctant to leave their homes unattended and may change their holiday plans as a result. Agents and operators may need to deal swiftly with sudden changes.

This is where the travel trade comes into its own. Consumers who booked through a ‘real person’, rather than direct, will feel the benefit of having their arrangements taken care of by a professional.

It is a sad fact that dealing with emergencies, whether they be weather-related, due to terrorist attacks, or anything else, is becoming an almost daily task for travel agents. But it’s not all doom and gloom: these situations only serve to emphasise the need to establish relationships with clients and, from a customer perspective, the value of dealing with a trusted travel adviser.