93% of customers book with same company after talking to a travel agent

Posted by - October 9, 2018

This year’s ABTA Holiday Habits report has found that the overwhelming majority of people who speak to a travel professional first – over 9 in 10 – will then go on to book with that company.
As announced at the ABTA Travel Convention in Seville, the eighth annual survey, for the first time this year asked about booking behaviour after a customer had spoken to an agent. This looked into the possibility that a consumer may book via a different channel to the one they initially used to speak to the travel agent.
Of the 2000 people surveyed, 30% had spoken to a travel professional about their last holiday and more than nine in ten (93%) of these said they then went on to book with that company. Two in five (40%) spoke to a travel professional and booked in-store; 30% booked online and one in four (23%) booked over the phone.
This reflects feedback from ABTA members about the changing role of the high street store and how they are an important part of the customer journey and experience, as well as an important asset for raising brand awareness.
It also busts the myth that lots of people speak to a travel professional but then go on to book their travel independently or with someone else. Only 7% of people who spoke to a travel professional went on to book with another travel company or organised the holiday themselves.
The findings show that if these businesses can engage the customer in a conversation, they have more than a 9 in 10 chance of converting the conversion into a sale. It also reinforces the importance of thinking about the customer journey through all the channels a customer may be using, from the initial engagement through to the final booking.
“Young people… are recognising the limitations of doing everything themselves online”
Victoria Bacon, director of brand and business development at ABTA, said: “It’s fantastic that consumers are really seeing the benefits of using a travel professional, recognising that they often make life easier, quicker and provide the reassurance people are looking for when booking a holiday.
“For many young people, who have grown up as digital natives, it’s encouraging that they’re recognising the limitations of doing everything themselves online or relying solely on review websites to help them plan. Their holiday is a chance to discover new places and new experiences, and they’re increasingly recognising that travel professionals offer unrivalled insight and expertise to help them have a better experience.”
Reasons to use a travel agent Building from this, the ABTA Holidays Habits survey also reported that UK holidaymakers say the main advantages of booking with a travel agent are ease of booking (58%), saving time (51%) and feeling more confident (45%).
People aged between 25 and 34 are more likely than any other age group to say that booking with a travel professional means they will have a better holiday: one in five (20%) replied this way.
The findings suggest that this age group – digital natives with experience of travelling – have lost some confidence in travel review websites as a source of information. The report shows that trust in review sites for information and inspiration has fallen by 14% in the past year, down from 53% to 39%.
The limitations of relying on review websites have been highlighted by high-profile stories of a shed being ranked one of the best restaurants in London and a plastic tunnel at the supermarket being listed as the most popular attraction in the Cornish town of Bude.
The youngest travellers are increasingly asking experts to help them seek out unique and original travel experiences recognising that professionals know destinations well and can help him get the holiday that they want: 18 to 24 year-olds are more likely to say they will book with a travel professional for the new ideas and destinations they suggest (32%). This reflects that this age group are likely to be less experienced and keen to utilise the expertise of travel agents.
With the ABTA Holidays Habits report also finding that 40% of 18-24-year-olds who plan to spend more on travel next year doing so because they want to take the trip of a lifetime, and feedback from ABTA members reporting young people are increasingly looking for an authentic and original experience, there is a real opportunity for travel professionals companies to help them and have a memorable experience.

Authentic India Tours aims to tap South India’s uncharted tourism

Posted by - July 17, 2018

Madurai Temple New travel firm, Authentic India Tours, has launched to provide bespoke tours and experiences of South India.
ABTA regulated Authentic India Tours, is a venture of the UK-based Compton Group, a company which was established in 1955 and has its roots in the property development and investment sector. It was created to offer personalised tours with a goal of opening up the largely uncharted Indian tourism sector.
“Much of southern India remains something of a mystery”
Angela Coyle, head of group marketing for the Compton Group, said: “Over 10 million foreign tourists arrived in India in 2017, compared to 8.89 million in 2016, representing a growth of 15.6%, so it is a region that is clearly on the rise.
“However, for many travellers, much of southern India remains something of a mystery, one of the last few destinations on earth that is largely untapped by the mass tourism market, meaning that new visitors are privy to something really rather special.”
Related Posts Periyar Tiger Reserve Authentic India Tours works with local travel experts to craft original tours and experiences that showcase southern India’s well-known treasures and hidden gems. Its itineraries include 9 to 24-day tours of the region’s highlights such as the tea plantations of Munnar, Karnataka’s markets, the temple town of Madurai, the Periyar Tiger Reserve and the Malabar coastline.
Additionally, tailored experiences have been curated for travellers with special interests, with wellbeing and Ayurveda retreats, as well as cycling, culinary and bird watching tours.
In terms of accommodations, on offer are houseboats over Kerala backwaters, private beach villas with yoga decks on the Arabian coast, eco-hotels in the Thekkady highlands and wildlife retreats in protected animal reserves in the foothills of the Nilgiris.
Badami Town Coyle concluded: “By working with local travel providers we have been able to put together some truly magical tours and experiences that showcase the very best of southern India and take the worry and guesswork out of planning a trip to the region, thanks to our specialist knowledge.”

Brits scrambling to fly to Russia for World Cup semi-finals

Posted by - July 11, 2018

With a higher chance to win the World Cup this year, Brits are looking for last minute deals to Russia for the remaining matches.
Following England’s triumph against Sweden in the quarter finals, Brits worldwide are on the edge of their seats with hands clasped in prayer that the boys will take home the World Cup this time. Association of travel agents and tour operators ABTA reported a surge in demand from fans trying to fly to Moscow.
In an emotional win last week, England pushed through the semi-finals prompting Brits to drop everything. The Three Lions demanded attention for its possible championship in this year’s World Cup and initiated the hashtag #itscominghome. Star player Harry Maguire is clearly overjoyed that the team is not flying back home early.
Flights and hotels demand soar Flight and hotel searches spiked after England’s 2-0 win over Sweden. Websites like CheapFlightsFinder reportedly saw a 185% increase in inquiries from fans looking to head over to Moscow for the remaining matches.
Another flight bookings website Kiwi.com recorded a whopping 83% increase in bookings ahead of the England vs Sweden match.
Related Posts Also, there are bands of football fans looking to hire private jets to fly them to Russia for the game. UK-based charter company PrivateFly claimed that inquiries and requests surged since last week.
PrivateFly offers nine-seater jets to Moscow for between GBP 45,000 (USD 60,000) to GBP 50,000 return, meaning fans could face paying more than GBP 5,000 each, which could be 10 times higher than an airline ticket. Larger groups faced spending more than GBP 150,000 for a private airliner.
It seems that fans do not mind spending more to travel VIP style for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Private jets are the fastest way to fly in and out of Moscow.
Meanwhile, Brits are also scrambling to book their accommodations. Hotels.com reportedly saw a 45% increase in searches for hotels in Russia.
Too late?
ABTA warned that events like World Cup can be a popular target for fraud. ABTA recommends that anyone looking for a last minute trip to Moscow for England’s semi-final match to be vigilant by checking that they are booking with a reputable company.
For those looking to buy tickets to the remaining tickets, be warned that anyone caught with a forged ticket will not be admitted and are likely to receive a heavy fine. Match tickets should only be bought through FIFA or national football associations.
“For fans looking to travel to Moscow for England’s semi-final, it’s important to remember that there are entry requirements for Russia: if you have a valid ticket to one of the matches and have registered for a Fan ID, you won’t need a visa. If you don’t have a ticket and Fan ID, you will need a visa. However please be aware that The Russian Embassy advised in March 2018 that it takes around 20 business days (4 weeks) to process most visa applications,” an ABTA spokesperson said.
It could be too late for some people, especially those who do not have a ticket, for it takes four weeks to process their visa and England will face Croatia on Thursday and the winner will meet France in the final match on Sunday.

Travel management companies have a vital role in client safety, says ABTA

Posted by - June 1, 2018

Research revealed the vital role of travel management companies in providing support and advice – and ABTA is there behind it.
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) released a study and found that although many business trips go as planned, managers are still concerned about their staff’s safety and health. These include potential security threats, health and medical concerns, harassment or violence against staff, natural disasters and severe weather conditions.
The research was conducted by Censuswide and involved 508 managers at companies where people travel for business (including 259 business decision makers) in Great Britain, between 31 January and 2 February 2018.
But the managers’ concerns are not the only point of the study. Victoria Bacon, director of brand and business development at ABTA, said: “Travel management companies have a vital role to play in supporting their clients to ensure that staff travelling on business have the best possible information and support.”
When asked about their concerns when a staff travels abroad, these are the respondents’ top concerns:
Related Posts 58% – health and medical issues 57% – security threats to staff 35% – potential harassment or violence against staff 35% – natural disasters and severe weather conditions. Other issues of concern for managers included organising the correct entry documents at 53%, misunderstanding of local culture at 33% and accessibility for staff with a disability at 25%. However, a majority of them said that none of their staff had experienced any issues when travelling abroad in the last 12 months.

ABTA Crisis Management Support “ABTA Member travel companies benefit from out of hours crisis management support along with email operational bulletins. ABTA’s team monitors events around the world and provides updates exclusively to ABTA Members, as well as passing on changes to Foreign Office advice as soon as they occur,” Bacon added.
ABTA provides crisis support, operational advice and bulletins about incidents and travel news that may affect their customers in the UK and overseas. 38 of the 50 largest travel management companies in the UK are ABTA members with a combined turnover of £10.4 billion.