Internet deemed biggest concern for agents, finds study

Internet deemed biggest concern for agents, finds study

The internet is the biggest overall threat facing travel agents, with one in three concerned about online competitors offering bigger discounts.

The second biggest concern is the state of the fragile UK economy (13%) and the impact on consumers booking trips.

Of those 111 high street agents questioned in a poll by Carnival Cruise Lines, 33% said changes to Atol licensing would significantly affect business, but 84% would still look to book dynamic packages following the reforms.

The nationwide survey found that 70% of agents are feeling confident about bookings in 2012 and almost two thirds (61%) hit their sales targets in the first quarter of the year.

When asked how positive they were feeling about the industry, the majority of agents rated their mood as over six out of ten. Only 2% were feeling very negative.

Unsurprisingly, the research found that holidaymakers are looking for value for money (93%) – while cruises, all-inclusive breaks and package holidays were found to be driving most bookings.

Agents are more confident about booking cruises than any other holiday despite the challenges faced by the cruise industry this year, with more than 65% of agents saying they are feeling positive about taking cruise reservations.

But they were least confident about booking winter sports holidays in the first quarter of the year as cash-strapped families sacrificed winter holidays for just one summer holiday this year.

Mature couples are the group least affected by the struggling economy and are those booking the most trips (89%).

The most popular destination is the US, with 62% of agents saying the country is the most frequently booked.

Carnival Cruise Lines UK managing director Adolfo Perez said: “We’re encouraged by the feeling of optimism in the industry, and delighted the agents are so confident about booking cruises.

“While recent events have given the cruise industry a real challenge, we are really upbeat about the rest of the year, which will be boosted by the launch of our brand new ship, the Carnival Breeze, in June.”

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