Refund guarantee tops consumers concerns when booking a holiday

Consumer recognition of the Atol and Abta logos and trusted travel brands has fallen, particularly among younger adults, according to research for Travel Weekly.

The proportion of consumers planning an overseas holiday who believe booking with a trusted company is ‘important’ remains high, as do the proportions which look for the Atol and Abta logos. But a survey in May found consistent falls compared with six months earlier.

The research by Service Science and Kantar on behalf of Travel Weekly suggested almost one third (31%) of UK adults expect to take an overseas holiday by April next year.

Two in five (43%) of these prospective holidaymakers said booking with a trusted company was important to them, seven percentage points down on the response to the same question in October-November last year.

Response rates varied between 30% among the youngest adults aged 16-24 and 65% among those aged 45-54, but were down in every age group bar 45-54-year-olds.

No more than one third of those under 45 who intend to book a holiday saw ‘trust’ as important, whereas half to two thirds of those over 45 said they still look to a trusted brand.

Recognition of the Atol logo as important was down 10 percentage points on six months earlier at 35% – a surprise given the government guarantee of refund credit notes for Atol bookings. It is unclear whether the findings reflect a decline in trust in Atol or a belief that bookings will be protected regardless.

Less than one in four of those under 45 viewed Atol as important, compared with three out of five (57%) among those aged 45 and above. However, the proportion of potential holidaymakers looking to Atol for protection was down across the board – including by 10 percentage points among those aged 55 and over.

There was also a five point fall to 34% in the proportion saying they consider the Abta logo important, with rates varying from 11% among the youngest adults, through 29% among 25-44-year-olds and 44% in the 45-64 age group to 57% among older holidaymakers.

The findings suggest consumers are confused. Younger respondents placed greater store on booking a package holiday than on Atol Protection, with 26% of 16-24-year-olds rating a package booking important but only 15% Atol protection.

By contrast, the proportion of those aged 45-plus who rate Atol important was up to 29 points higher than the proportion in favour of booking a package.

The survey among 1,278 UK adults was conducted on May 4-6.

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