Travel agents have said the collapse of XL Leisure Group and the confusion over financial protection could prompt customers to return to booking with them.

The collapse – which left 10,000 people on non-ATOL protected holidays stranded overseas – has been seen as an opportunity for travel agents to demonstrate the value of booking throughthe trade.

North London-based Colletts Travel had some customers due to travel with XL Airways and rearranged their holidays.

Director Roy Collett said: “Maybe this will make the public realise that travel agents are there to protect the customers and offer professional advice.“

Ashley Adams director Steve Riley, added: “People are starting to be much more careful which airline they choose and we’re finding them coming back to us for advice.”

Some agents have reported an increasein bookings from customers who would normally goonline. Global Travel Lounge director Peter Buckell said: “We had a surge of bookings over the weekend because people are scared to book on the internet.”

Home-based agency Travel Counsellors said the collapse led to an influx of new customers and an 800% increase in visitors to its website.

Managing director Steve Byrne said: “We had contacted all our affected customers by 8am, then started hearing from their friends or family who were not happy with the service they were receiving from the company they booked with.”

The company also launched a short marketing campaign, targeting those who performed Google searches against terms such as ‘XL collapse’.

“This brought huge numbers to the site, some for advice and others for help sorting outtheir travel plans. This highlights the value of having an agent who will be there when things go wrong,“ added Byrne.

Have you been affected by the collapse of XL? Email chloe.berman@rbi.co.uk