Millennials and Generation Z are increasingly turning to travel agents to ensure they have “better” holidays, with new research highlighting a rise in in-store bookings among younger age groups.

Insight from the association’s Holiday Habits report showed an increase in younger generations seeking help from an agent, despite them being “digital natives”.

The report said 34% of 18-24-year-olds booked using the services of a travel professional – a 3% increase year-on-year. This age group was also deemed the most likely to book a holiday in-store with 22% of those polled doing so in the past year – an increase in 8% since 2018.

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The research also found this age group was most likely to believe booking through an agent meant they would have a better holiday.

The Abta Consumer Trends survey polled 2,043 consumers on their holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July.

The data showed a quarter of affluent travellers said they were more likely to book in store, as opposed to 17% of families.

It also drilled down to booking habits by location of the consumer, showing a variation in booking methods according to where the holidaymaker lived. Booking in store was particularly favoured by those in the north east with 28% of those polled choosing this method, 11% ahead of the next region, the East Midlands.

When it comes to online bookings, Abta said figures had remained steady over the past two years, however a trend to seek further support and advice on digital channels was highlighted.

The report said 16% of people who booked online also sought extra help, advice and information from live chat services or through speaking with a travel professional on social media. This was more prevalent in the 25-34 age range, with a third of those polled saying they seek extra assistance, and 28% of those between 18 and 24 concurring.

While people may be looking for genuine advice online, the report claimed people were becoming less reliant on social media for holiday inspiration, with a 3% fall for both posts by friends and family and that of those from brands or influencers.

Abta said this suggested an increasing ‘appetite for genuine, trustworthy insights, and a greater awareness of the limitations and reliability of social media as a source of information’.

Victoria Bacon, director of brand and business development at Abta, said: “It’s exciting to see the generation of digital natives increasingly realising the benefits of using the experience and expertise of travel professionals and booking their holidays with them, whether online or in-store.

“For every generation, travel professionals have a huge amount of experience, expertise and support to offer and they can really help take the hassle out of booking.

“Increasingly, Abta member travel companies are responding to the changing needs of customers by providing support through web chat and social media, so whether they’re booking online, over the phone or in-store, they get the support of a travel professional.”

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