COVID complexity is seeing direct bookers turn to agents

COVID complexity is seeing direct bookers turn to agents

The Financial Times predicted the sector could start 2022 with ‘wind in its sails’

More customers will turn to travel agents for expert advice and guidance over the coming 12 months, according to a leading national newspaper.

The Financial Times article on predicted travel trends for 2022 said the agency sector was one part of the industry that could start the new year with “wind in its sails”.

It said: “Over the past two decades, advances in technology have made it increasingly easy to book your own flights, hotels, car rental and tours online.

“And then came the pandemic, and a raft of ever-changing travel restrictions, testing requirements and last-minute cancellations. Travel is more complicated than it has been in a generation, and so a helping hand — that of an expert travel agent — is suddenly at a premium once more.”

The article quoted Aito Agents chair Gemma Antrobus, who reiterated comments made in her Travel Weekly columns in 2021 that many direct bookers were now seeking out agents for the first time.

The owner of Haslemere Travel told the FT: “A great many people had their fingers burnt when the pandemic hit, and it has been widely reported just how many have lost money or spent significant amounts of time ‘on hold’ to online companies.

“We have found that a significant amount of our new business is from clients who have never previously used an agent.”