Some research was unveiled this week that should be music to travel agents’ ears.

In fact, I tweeted to that effect from the Kuoni Worldwide Trends Report launch, which revealed that in a survey of consumers, almost half of respondents thought travel planning had become more of a headache than enjoyable.

Over three-quarters said they felt overwhelmed by the amount of information available online – in fact, more than half said they were unsure which sites and reviews to trust.

A whopping 59% concluded that they preferred real advice from trusted experts. Hallelujah!

My tweet was unsurprisingly ‘liked’ by agents across the UK – from the heads of consortia like The Advantage Travel Partnership and the Global Travel Group, to individual travel consultants and retailers such as Attache Voyage and Triangle Travel. Trade-friendly suppliers such as Gold Medal, Travel 2, Getabed, Travelsphere, Just You and Royal Caribbean were also quick to give the thumbs-up.

In fact, so convinced was Kuoni of the merits of booking a holiday with a travel expert that it made two of its own store managers the focus of its peak advertising this year.

The online and social campaign, using the tagline ‘Our experience makes yours’, has been hugely successful, according to directors.

When you consider other findings, such as that more than 60% of customers go into a Kuoni store without a destination in mind, and that each consultation takes on average two hours, you start to understand why knowledgeable experts giving great service is the key element for any supplier or retailer to promote.

Comment from Travel Weekly, February 22 edition