Mintel study casts doubt on future of high street agents

Mintel study casts doubt on future of high street agents

Seven in ten people who took a holiday in the last year booked entirely online, casting doubt on the future role of the high street travel agent.

Fewer than one in ten customers now believe that agents are better informed about holiday destinations than professional bloggers or review websites such as TripAdvisor, according to a new study by Mintel.

Additionally, more than half (52%) of consumers believe that holidays are better value for money when booked online and 40% enjoy being able to put together their own holiday on the internet.

Established high street agents have tried to promote their websites as they adapt to the holiday market, but the research suggests that their brands are becoming less important for customers, according to a weekend report in the Daily Mail.

Some 14% of people claimed that they would “purchase a holiday from an internet company I have never heard of if it is cheaper”.

When it comes to researching holidays, 44% of consumers said that they trusted reviews written by other holidaymakers on travel review websites such as TripAdvisor.

One in five use email to send photos, videos or updates about the holiday while on holiday - and a further 45% when they return.

Around a quarter of people use social networking sites such as Facebook to post photos, videos and updates about their holiday while there - and a further 37% do so when they return home.

Mintel surveyed 1,078 people aged over 16 who booked a holiday in the last 12 months, according to the Daily Mail.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at price comparison site TravelSupermarket.com, was quoted as saying: “Many basic trips are easy and quick to research on line and with price comparison making this even more efficient for consumers, the rise of not only researching but also booking online is set to continue.

“For more complicated itineraries there is still benefit in speaking to a specialist agent in person in a store or on the phone due to the value they can add in booking complicated trips.

“Consumers are learning that comparing prices helps them to find the best possible deal, whether it be on a full package holiday, or just a flight, hotel room or car rental. And of course this extends to items such as travel insurance and airport parking as well as travel money where online bookings consistently deliver a better price.”

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