Travel agents have the opportunity to attract a new ‘Generation Z’ customer base in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, according to the executive editor of Cosmopolitan magazine.

Speaking during Travel Weekly’s Future of Travel Week, Amy Grier said agents and tour operators could attract younger customers in their 20s and 30s who may not previously have considered booking through the trade as they sought reassurance and security.

Grier said: “There is a huge opportunity for travel companies to be the one that millennials and Generation Z can trust. Reach out and grab a whole load of new consumers…it’s a really exciting opportunity among the doom and gloom.”

She added: “There is still a job to be done to educate readers what a travel agent is – they may have booked with one and not realised, but Generation Z are the ones that are ready to fly tomorrow so they are the ones you want.”

Grier said firms had to ensure their web presence matched that available through apps and said that could initially be “as easy as having a chat function” so potential customers could explore options in a format they were comfortable with.

But she insisted that younger travellers’ desire to travel responsibly to avoid causing health issues for older relatives and their need to ensure hard-earned money spent on holidays was secure meant they were a growth opportunity for firms which could demonstrate their expertise.

She added: “I read a brilliant quote that said ‘the most foolproof way to survive disruption is the most traditional’ and I think that is super-important for travel companies to remember.

“Essentially what people value is a purpose and a company that has good values.”

Gaby Huddart, group editorial director, Lifestyle & Homes for Cosmopolitan owner Hearst UK, said the slightly older audience which engaged with her portfolio of titles including Good Housekeeping, Prima and Country Living were also increasingly looking to professionals for guidance.

She said: “I think this is a really good time for travel agents – for my demographic having the reassurance of a travel agent is going to be really important. Trusted advice from somebody in the know will be a really important thing, particularly moving into next year.”