Everyone knows that first impressions can make or break a relationship or a deal – and it appears they are also absolutely crucial when it comes to holiday bookings.

As Tui revealed this week, the factor which would most influence a customer to recommend a holiday was not the experience they had in resort, but the booking process and how easy they found it to understand the product.

For Tui’s marketing chief, who described the results as “eye-opening”, the research confirmed the importance of friendly and knowledgeable agents, and accessible and relevant websites.

And he said the findings reiterated the importance placed on personal interaction, which was also said to explain a slowdown in the growth of online sales and an upturn in face-to-face transactions.

With Thomas Cook also putting its money where its mouth is and opening new stores, it’s clear that the big two clearly still see a future on the high street, even if their retail estates are likely to be refined in the coming years.

And that endorsement of an oft-maligned sales channel will be encouraging for other retailers – despite the new openings meaning more local competition for some.

With a number of shocking stories about airlines’ lack of customer care in the headlines, it is absolutely critical that the wider travel industry does not get misrepresented as putting cash before the customer.

We all hope those airlines learn some swift lessons. And if they need some inspiration, they could do a lot worse than looking at the many travel agents for whom the customer is the absolute priority.