Consumers are craving ‘peace of mind’ when making travel plans, while still looking for inspiration for future bookings, new research reveals.

The study by Travel Counsellors, conducted this week as parts of the UK started easing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, came as the company found that bookings for 2021 represent more than two-thirds of current transactions.

Bookings for next year have centred around Mediterranean destinations and North America.

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However, a growing number of enquiries for domestic travel later this year are being made.

Staycations are high on the agenda for customers in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium, with the same theme reported in the UAE.

The company is seeking to expand its domestic and self-drive options to help meet demand for UK breaks to the coast and countryside to support its business owners in converting enquires for later in the year.

As many as 70% of Travel Counsellors’ customers feel ‘peace of mind’ is of utmost important when making travel plans in the current climate.

And a similar proportion have high hopes for an overseas holiday next year, with 90% feeling positive about being be able to travel in 2021.

Travel Counsellors UK managing director Kirsten Hughes said: “We’ve been focused on supporting our Travel Counsellors and working closely with our supplier partners to ensure our customers are cared for and looked after during this time.

“So it is really positive to see that customers are still actively thinking about their future travel plans, and we will be here to advise them during what is a moving feast for the travel industry, always with customer safety and wellbeing at the forefront.”

She added: “A steady, if small, continuous increase in bookings not only indicates green shoots of recovery, but is thanks to the relationships our business owners build with their customers, many of whom are relying on their Travel Counsellor for trusted advice and expertise to navigate the current restrictions in travel across the globe.

“Further customer feedback suggests that visiting family and friends will be all-important, and we anticipate an increase in group bookings when it’s practically possible as people relish the chance to spend time together again.”

The company is enabling free amendments to trips up to eight weeks before departure on selected packages, applicable to new bookings for next year.

Hughes said: “It has been essential for our Travel Counsellors to be there for their customers throughout this time, offering hands-on, holistic travel advice based on each customer’s personal circumstances.

“Despite trying times for many travellers and people across the travel industry, the value of a trusted travel adviser is being proved time and again throughout this crisis, as customers seek the peace of mind and reassurance that comes from being able to rely on human, professional and reliable experts at this time, who will always be there for them, both now and when the world is open for travel again.”

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