Millennials and Generation Z increasingly turning to travel professionals to book holidays
- Growing numbers of 18-24 year olds booking in-store (22%, up 8% since 2018)
- This age group are also the most likely to believe booking through a travel professional means they have a better holiday (20% vs 14% average)
- More younger travellers seeking support of travel professionals offline and online - almost a third (30%) of 25-34 year olds who book online seek support such as using a live chat service or speaking to a professional via social media
ABTA’s latest Holiday Habits research reveals that digitally native generations are increasingly seeing the benefits of using travel professionals, and are turning to them for support in booking their holidays.
The research shows that 18-24 year olds are the most likely age group to book a holiday in-store, with nearly a quarter (22% - up 8% since 2018) doing so in the past 12 months, compared to a UK average of 12%. Affluent holidaymakers (social group A) are more than twice as likely as average to book in-store (26%) while those with young families are also more likely than average (17%) to book this way. There are also variations by geography, with holidaymakers in the North East particularly favouring booking in-store (28%) – 11% ahead of the next region (East Midlands, 17%).
More than a third of 18-24 year olds booked using the services of a travel professional (34% vs 31% in 2018). This age group are most likely to book with a travel professional because they believe they have a better holiday when they book through them (20% vs 14% average). This is an 8% increase since last year (12%) – perhaps reflecting that they are likely to be less experienced travellers and are keen to make the most of a travel professionals’ knowledge.
‘Ease of booking’ is still the main reason why most people book with a travel professional (59% vs 58% in 2018), with two new categories – value for money (35%) and having a holiday tailor made to suit your preferences (26%) – also proving popular.
The booking journey for holidaymakers, and the way they interact with travel professionals, continues to evolve. Whilst online booking figures have remained steady over the past two years1, 16% of people who book a holiday online now seek additional support – such as using a live chat service or speaking with a travel professional via social media. This rises to almost a third (30%) of 25-34 year olds, followed by 18-24 year olds (28%), suggesting that these digitally savvy travellers are seeking easily accessible ways to get travel insights and expertise online.
Whilst people are increasingly using social media as a method of booking through travel professionals, the reliance on social media to provide holiday inspiration and information has fallen this year (3% fall for both social media posts of friends and family and of brands/influencers). At the same time, there have been increases in the number of people preferring to consult travel company websites or travel professionals (36% vs 32% in 2018 and 17% vs 14% in 2018, respectively). This suggests an increasing appetite for genuine, trustworthy insights, and a greater awareness of the limitations and reliability of social media as a source of information.
There’s been a 5% increase in people aged 35-44 booking holidays abroad via a travel company or travel agent, although the two most popular channels for booking are through a holiday booking website and directly through a service provider. Almost twice as many people book their holiday abroad through a travel company or travel agent than for a UK holiday (39% vs 20%).
Victoria Bacon, Director of Brand and Business Development at ABTA said:
“It’s exciting to see the generation of digital natives increasingly realising the benefits of using the experience and expertise of travel professionals and booking their holidays with them, whether online or in-store.
“For every generation, travel professionals have a huge amount of experience, expertise and support to offer and they can really help take the hassle out of booking. Increasingly, ABTA Member travel companies are responding to the changing needs of customers by providing support through web chat and social media, so whether they’re booking online, over the phone or in-store, they get the support of a travel professional.”
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Notes to editors
1 83% vs 81% in 2018 and 83% in 2017
The full report is available to download from abta.com/holidayhabits2019.
Consumer research was conducted by The Nursery Research and Planning (formerly Arkenford, specialists in leisure and tourism research) https://www.the-nursery.net/. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated responses from a nationally representative sample of 2,043 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2019. Fieldwork was conducted in July 2019.
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