Younger market still using agents, reveals study

Younger market still using agents, reveals study

The under-35s age group is more likely to use a travel agent than any other but is often overlooked by retailers, according to a new study.

TravelVision 2012, a survey of 21,000 consumers conducted by the British Travel Awards between July and October last year, revealed its findings at the Aito Specialist Travel Agents annual domestic conference.

It showed the number of consumers who research their destination with a travel agent has fallen by 14% since 2010 to 7%. Unsurprisingly, almost half, 49%, said the internet was the most important research tool while 17.5% look for customer feedback on a destination through online forums.

Of those who use a travel agent to choose a holiday, the ‘Facebook generation’ of under-35s made up the highest proportion.

Speaking at the conference in Warwickshire, BTA chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “The under-35s should be valued. This group is also the most open to buying holiday extras.”

But Aito agents admitted they tended to avoid actively promoting to the younger market because they assumed they booked online.

“We overlook that market,” said Aito Specialist Travel Agents chairman Oliver Broad, of Robert Broad Travel. “But if you get them at 35 you may well have them as a client for life.”

Claire Hunt, sales consultant for Journeys a la Carte in Uttoxeter, agreed: “It’s a tough market but I don’t think we target it enough.”

Sarah Roberts, manager of Deva Travel, Chester, added: “A lot of our clients are more mature and I perceive the younger market to be very savvy and travel more on price so we don’t tap into them as much as we could.”

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