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Holidaymakers now 30% more likely to use travel professional than before pandemic: ABTA

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ABTA has revealed its travel predictions for 2022, as new research and booking trends from its Members show an increased reliance on package holidays and travel professionals, as well as the emergence of the ‘catch-up consumer’.

According to ABTA’s new report, Travel in 2022, people are 30% more likely to book with a travel professional now than before the pandemic, primarily for their guidance with Coronavirus travel requirements (47%) and the security of a package holiday (46%).

The biggest growth potential is among younger age groups, with two-thirds (66%) of 18-24 year olds saying they’re more likely to book with a travel professional now than before the pandemic. Many ABTA Members have already noticed this changing consumer sentiment translating into enquiries and bookings and are reporting that a greater percentage of their customers are new to them than before the pandemic. Typically, these customers want an expert to guide them through the extra steps they need to take to prepare for their next trip.

In addition, ABTA’s figures also suggest that package holidays will perform well in 2022, with people saying they are 27% more likely to book a package holiday now than before the pandemic, with 39% citing financial protection as the main reason, followed by having everything taken care of for them (37%). These trends are expected to go hand in hand with higher than average spend as ‘catch-up consumers’ seek to make up for the trips and experiences they’ve missed out on during the pandemic.

Almost half (49%) of people say that the limited opportunities to travel because of the pandemic have made their holidays more important to them than before, and almost half (46%) also expect to spend more money on their holidays next year, up from 29% who said the same in 2020.

Booking trends from ABTA Members point to these ‘catch-up consumers’ treating themselves on their next breaks by upgrading their accommodation, booking longer stays or heading to more expensive destinations altogether.

While popular destinations for next year include holiday favourites like Spain, the US, France, Italy and Greece, bucket list locations like the Caribbean and the Maldives are rising in popularity too. The main findings from the Travel in 2022 report were revealed at the association’s Travel Trends Conference today, as part of a full day of insights on the latest industry trends, popular destinations, customer sentiment and marketing strategies to support the continued recovery of travel businesses.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said: “Given the hugely challenging trading conditions over the past couple of years, I’m delighted to see people becoming ever more likely to turn to travel professionals to book their long-awaited holidays. Our Members have worked tirelessly to provide their customers with expert advice and outstanding service, so it’s wonderful to see this hard work being recognised and rewarded. There is still a way to go but, with 61% of people saying that they plan to travel abroad in the next year, we seem to be at the first stage of a meaningful recovery for the sector.”

More about ABTA’s Travel in 2022 report

  1. The catch-up consumer – holidaymakers will make up for the trips they’ve missed out on by upgrading elements of their next holiday or opting for a bucket list destination
  2. The new age of the expert – people are more likely to book with a travel professional next year as they seek out expert help and advice with travel requirements
  3. Seacations spark a ‘new-to-cruise’ craze – cruises are set to reach new heights of popularity in 2022 due to seacations boosting the new-to-cruise market
  4. The package is king – holidaymakers will book more package holidays in the year ahead, for the added protection and peace of mind that comes with this booking
  5. Travel for reconnection – holidays that allow us to reconnect with the important people in our lives are expected to be popular next year

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