The internet is now firmly established as the main research tool among holidaymakers, but travel agents have increased their market share despite the decline in total number of trips – reversing a trend of the past decade.
Market analyst Mintel reports a TGI survey among 25,000 adults last year that suggested half of adults who took an overseas holiday in the previous 12 months booked it with a travel agent. This was up from 45.6% in a similar survey in 2007, although the volume of sales was down across all channels.
A further 26% had used an operator, while two-thirds had booked independently. The overlap is due to some holidaymakers taking more than one trip. In addition, it is likely some of the ‘independent’ arrangements will have been booked through websites of members of the trade.
One-third of respondents had also booked a UK domestic holiday or short break through an agency outlet.
High street agents have long since been surpassed by the web as a source of holiday information. Mintel reported that 15% of those who had taken a holiday in the previous 12 months had used an agent for information, almost 10% had used an operator and 12% turned to holiday brochures. These figures compared with almost 48% who used the web. Of course, some people will have used all these means.
Family and friends were the second most-popular source of information for independent travellers.
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