Millennials are ditching review sites and turning to travel agents to book “better” holiday experiences, according to new research.

Trust in review sites for information and inspiration has fallen by 14% in the last year for 25-34 year-olds, from 53% to 39%.

Abta’s Holiday Habits report found one in five people in this age group said one of the advantages of booking with a travel professional is that they have a better holiday – more than any other age group.

The association, which released the data on Tuesday at The Travel Convention in Seville, said its research reflected the limitations of relying on review websites which have been highlighted by stories of a shed being ranked one of the best restaurants in London and a plastic tunnel at a supermarket being listed as the most popular attraction in the Cornish town of Bude.

Meanwhile 32% of 18-24 year-olds said they are more likely to book with a travel professional for the new ideas and destinations they suggest.

The Abta Consumer Trends survey generated responses from 2,000 consumers nationwide.

This year, for the first time, the survey asked people about their booking behaviour after they had spoken to a travel professional in recognition that customers may start a conversation through one channel, but end up booking via another.

Just under a third (30%) had spoken to a travel professional about their last holiday with more than nine in ten (93%) of these going on to book with them.

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.

Under 10% of people who spoke to a travel professional went on to book with another travel company or organised the holiday themselves, which Abta says “busts the myth” that lots of people speak to an agent then go on to book their travel independently or with someone else.

Victoria Bacon, director of brand and business development 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.”

Travel Weekly is trade media partner of The Travel Convention
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