A new Flight Centre policy allows travellers to book trips abroad with the flexibility to travel, change or cancel with a full refund if their destination’s traffic light status changes.
If the government announces a change from green to amber, or green or amber to red, customers will get the chance to amend their options up until the day of travel.
The traffic light change policy comes as ministers prepare to unveil which bracket of the traffic light system each country will fall under.
The agency group’s initiative is designed to combat consumer nervousness to book while classifications remain in flux.
The move comes as the agency found that 69% of customers would be willing to travel to a green list destination.
However, only 14% are willing to travel to an amber destination and just 2% to a red list country.
This means flexibility to alter plans if traffic lights change is key to consumer confidence, according to the agency.
With almost 70% of customers saying they are more likely to book due to the UK’s successful vaccine rollout, and an 15% increase since December in customers reporting they are looking to book in next six months, the new data suggests that there is growing pent-up demand for holidays.
The study found that the popular methods of booking a holiday are now:
- 67% on the phone to a travel agent
- 59% face to face with a travel agent
- 55% via email
- 36% face to face video call with a travel agent
- 25% purely online methods to book their next getaway
Despite the notion that following a series of negative tests travellers may be able to reduce their quarantine time, the research shows customers are not encouraged to book by a reduced quarantine period with 64% saying it did not make them more likely to book.
The company’s latest data shows the average holiday for a UK family is now a beach break (34%), in Europe, lasting two weeks or more (77%), booked by a travel agent over the phone (67%) and secured with clear flexibility options relevant for the current global fluctuations.
Head of retail and product marketing Yvonne Hobden said: “There is a sense of urgency brewing among travellers in the UK. Flight Centre experts can reveal that holiday pricing is starting to boom as restrictions lift, so we recommend booking now for the best prices for those wanting to go on holiday abroad this year.
“Our brand new traffic light change policy means customers have full peace of mind that they can book now at the best possible price, but change or cancel their trip at no extra cost if the government decides to put the destination in the amber or red categories at short notice.”