Just over half the population will consider using a travel agent to book their 2009 holiday, according to new research by Advantage Travel Centres.
The new figures, from a Love Travel, Love Your Travel Agent poll of 1,000 consumers, show 50.5% of holidaymakers would consider going to an agent to book their holiday this year.
This is up from 47.3% three years ago, suggesting factors such as financial protection and professional advice have become more important as a result of the global recession.
This is backed up by the fact that most consumers surveyed, 72.3%, are not sure which elements of their holiday are protected or under which circumstances they would be proected if their travel company failed.
Chief executive John McEwan said: “Our results demonstrate how the issue of trust is becoming increasingly important where holiday bookings are concerned as well as revealing, for the first time, how the UK’s confusing consumer protection rules for the travel industry leave most people unsure about whether their money is safe should their holiday provider go bust.”
Other results from the survey showed 45.9% of holidaymakers prefer the peace of mind they get from talking through a booking of more than £1,000 with a travel agent, compared to making the purchase online (26.1%).
Reasons to choose a travel agent instead of booking online included better knowledge of destinations (32.9%), improved service (17.8%) and cheaper prices (13.8%).
The survey also revealed that only 5% of UK travellers would trust Chanceller of the Exechequer Alistair Darling with their holiday booking.
Darling, who bailed out the banks to the tune of £37 billion, came bottom of the poll, which asked which household names holidaymakers would trust to book their annual two weeks in the sun. Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole got 23.2% of the vote, former consumer champion Esther Rantzen scored 29.5%, foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsey got 15.2% and Strictly Come Dancing star John Sergeant 14.6%.
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