Saving time and providing consumer confidence are the top reasons why holidaymakers use a travel agent, according to new research.

Almost half (48%) of respondents who used a travel professional said that they did so to save time, with 63% of 35-44 year olds and 56% of 25-34 year olds giving this as their primary reason.

Six in ten people also gave ease of booking as a reason for using a travel professional; this increases with age, culminating with 75% of the over-65s.

Overall, more than a third (38%) of holidaymakers used a travel professional in the last 12 months, with affluent customers and families with children under five the most likely to turn to their services.

According to Abta’s Holiday Habits Report 2017, half of those in social grade A and 47% of those with children under five have used a travel professional in the past year.

Consumer confidence in a volatile world is increasingly important, according to the survey, particularly among younger generations and the better off. More than six in ten (62%) of 18-24 year olds and 64% of those classed as social grade A stated that they felt more confident when booking with a travel professional.

Package holidays remain the most popular booking option for foreign holidays, with 52% of respondents taking one in the past 12 months, down from 53% in 2016.

The top reason for booking a package is “having everything taken care of” with three-quarters of all respondents stating this. Among families, this is even more important, with eight out of ten families with children giving this as a reason.

Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, said: “Holidays are a chance to relax and escape the day to day pressures and worries of life. Our research shows that even during booking, people want a stress-free experience and they particularly value the assistance of travel professionals in helping them to do so.

“Families and the well-off particularly value travel professionals’ experience and expertise. People also continue to appreciate the convenience of packages, with package holidays remaining the single most popular overseas holiday option, particularly for families.”

Travel Weekly’s full coverage of The Travel Convention