31 Mar

Feeling protected and reassured: Holidaymakers more likely to book a package holiday and book with a travel professional now than before the pandemic

New research from ABTA – The Travel Association shows a growing trend for holidaymakers seeking the security and reassurance of booking a package holiday with a travel professional this year. 

As consumers wait to hear from the Prime Minister on 5th April about plans for restarting international travel, ABTA’s data finds that people are 31% more likely to book a package holiday now than before the pandemic, primarily to be looked after in case something goes wrong (51%) and for financial protection (49%).

Package holidays provide the greatest level of protection for holidaymakers, including the right to a replacement holiday or a refund if the holiday is significantly altered by a change in the situation at their destination. By booking a package holiday, travellers also get great value for money and have a single point of contact for their travel arrangements, so if they require any advice and assistance before they go on holiday or while they are there, the travel company is there to help. 

A ‘package holiday’ refers to how the trip is booked, not where you go or what you do. Any type of holiday – from a city break to backpacking around the world – could be a package holiday, and packages can be personalised to suit each customer’s preferences. 

Holidaymakers are also placing a great deal of value on the services provided by a travel professional such as a travel agent. ABTA’s figures show that people are also 28% more likely to use a travel professional now than before the pandemic[i]

The main reasons show once again the importance of feeling protected and reassured, with half citing the security of a package holiday (50%) as why they would book with a travel professional, followed by trusting travel companies to look after them (48%), and the travel professional’s up-to-date advice (42%). ABTA Members are reporting enquiries coming from new customers who haven’t booked with them before.

As part of their service, travel professionals take customers through everything they need to know about their holiday, give them the latest advice for their destination, and keep them up to date on any changes that will affect their plans. The knowledge and expertise of travel professionals will be invaluable in helping customers understand how, in light of the pandemic, international travel will be different compared to when they last holidayed abroad. 

Holidaymakers remain committed to getting away overseas, with 63% of people saying they hope to book a holiday abroad in the next six months or longer.[ii] 

Graeme Buck, Director of Communications at ABTA – The Travel Association said:

“Travel professionals and package holidays have an important role to play in helping people feel reassured and confident to book and travel this year, and we’re seeing more and more people turning to them as they plan their holidays. 

“Over the last 12 months there has been a lot of uncertainty around international travel, with holidays having to be changed or postponed, but there is a lot of pent-up demand for holidays. People are increasingly recognising that they can get great value for money, added protection and the benefit of having someone else plan their holiday or make changes if needed further down the line. 

“On top of the usual protections of a package holiday, many ABTA Members are also offering additional flexible cancellation and rebooking policies to help holidaymakers have the confidence to book and enjoy having something to look forward to after a difficult 12 months.

“We’d encourage anyone who is planning their next overseas holiday to speak to an ABTA Member about their holiday plans – they’ll be able to provide them with unrivalled advice and expertise.” 

ABTA has prepared ten top tips to take holidaymakers through everything they need to know to book with confidence this year, which can be found at www.abta.com/bookwithconfidencetips.


Notes to editors

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for 70 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence. 

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members. 

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com. 

[i] ABTA consumer sentiment research conducted at the end of February 2021 by The Nursery Research and Planning (www.the-nursery.net/) with a nationally representative sample of 500 consumers.
[ii] ABTA consumer sentiment research conducted at the end of February 2021 by The Nursery Research and Planning (www.the-nursery.net/) with a nationally representative sample of 500 consumers.