The consortium sites “added security and peace of mind” and “a need for advice on more complex itineraries” as the main reasons for the sudden influx and says that despite the cost-of-living crisis, the average booking value has increased.
Of those new customers, 30% fell into the 35–44-year-old age bracket, with 33% of new customers aged between 45-54 and 15% over 60.
Speaking ahead of National Travel Agent Day 2022, Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “It’s our mission to dispel the myths around travel agents – that they are only for the older generation, that they are more expensive, that the role is outdated – and instead show their value to travellers to ensure peace of mind when planning their holiday.”
Although the positive shift has created a much needed boost for agents, with 63% feeling optimistic about the year ahead, travel agents are still feeling the effects of the last two years with 60% of respondents reporting that they still had an outstanding Government loan to pay from the pandemic. This is impacted further with over 90% of agents saying that their operating costs have increased by up to 50% in the past six months.
In total, 92% of respondents think that the outbound travel sector needs greater support from across the political spectrum. In response, The Advantage Travel Partnership has suggested all its members contact their local MPs during the summer recess to invite them along to see the role of the travel agent in 2022.
Lo Bue-Said said: “It’s fantastic to see that so many of our members are optimistic about the year ahead – and that so many of them are seeing an increase in customers after a very difficult two years.
“But after all that travel agents have endured over the course of the last two years, as well as the uncertain times ahead, it’s more important than ever that the industry gets the support it so badly needs – and we are using National Travel Agent Day 2022 to call on customers, the industry and the government alike to rally around our travel agents.”