Customer service and value for money are vital during times of uncertainty, says Gavin Tollman, chief executive Trafalgar and Costsaver

Having recently visited the UK, and as I keep abreast of the ongoing news agenda, it’s hard to escape the atmosphere of uncertainty and trepidation for the year ahead that is emanating from the British Isles. 2018 has been a year that challenged our industry, and many others, in a myriad of ways. With an as yet undefined Brexit around the corner, there is a continued lack of clarity for both businesses and consumers on how things will operate, yet I believe there are lots of reasons to go in to next year feeling optimistic about what lies ahead.

Earlier this week, the European Commission published proposals ensuring that, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, flights would continue to operate between the UK and the EU. Transport secretary Chris Grayling responded by saying that both business and leisure travellers can continue to travel with confidence.

Aside from that, recent history shows us that even in uncertain times, the UK traveller is a resilient one. Our research, and indeed our current booking data for 2019, supports this, indicating a strong first quarter is on the horizon and that green shoots are very much apparent.

Our extensive 2018 independent research study earlier this year revealed overwhelmingly that people aspired to lead “The Good Life”, which was defined as being able to relax, enjoy time without stress or anxiety; being with people you love – your friends and family; being able to have time to remember one’s values and what’s important in life; and being childlike again – being surprised, learning the new and exploring the different.

Against this backdrop, travel is a key way that we can deliver on these needs for our customers and connect them with ‘The Good Life’. 93% of the people surveyed say that travel has traditionally given them the distance from their day to day life to afford them the space to stop, switch off and reflect. As we move into 2019, I firmly believe that people will still travel because having this kind of restorative experience is more important than ever. Untapping this consumer mindset opens a fantastic opportunity for our industry as a whole, and as such we should remain upbeat and reassured as we move in to 2019.

In times of uncertainty, clients will be looking to travel with trusted companies that deliver on customer service and experience and offer fantastic value for money. So by aligning themselves with legacy brands, whose longevity offers security and quality, agents can be sure that they are protecting their customers and giving them the best opportunity to experience “The Good Life” in 2019.