Despite more people than ever using the internet to book holidays independently, traditional high street travel agents are still an important part of the travel experience for many travellers, says Holiday Which?.
A total of 44% of people surveyed who had booked a holiday abroad in the last year used a travel agent to book all or part of the holiday, and almost a third (29%) more phoned or visited an agent to gather information before buying.
Travel agents were rated highly among the people who had used them to book all or some of their holiday; 81% felt they’d received honest, trustworthy advice and 90% said they would recommend the travel agent to friends and family who wanted to take a similar type of holiday.
Those who used travel agents were less likely to shop around – three quarters visited just one agent.
Thomas Cook was the most popular, followed by Thomson and Going Places. Independent travel agents were also thought to be worth a visit.
Lorna Cowan, editor of Holiday Which? magazine says: ‘Lots of people are still using a travel agent to book their holiday and as a source of information and advice. People trust them, perhaps because there’s a human face to talk to.
‘While travel agents are certainly no longer the automatic first port of call they once were for everyone, there’s clearly still a demand for them – maybe people want the reassurance of speaking to a specialist before making an important, relatively expensive decision like booking a holiday.’