The ABTA Holiday Habits survey, released this morning at the ABTA Travel Convention in Seville, contains encouraging news about British consumer habits in relation to using travel professionals, particularly in regard to younger customers.

A survey of 2,001 people found that ease of booking, saving time and confidence in the industry were the main reasons for using travel agents to book holidays.

People aged 25-34 were found to be more likely than any other age group (20%) to say that booking with an agent means they will have a better holiday. The report cited reasons for this such as members of this demographic - digital natives with experience of travelling - have lost confidence in travel review sites. ABTA research has found that trust in review sites for travel information and inspiration is down by 14% in the last year, from 53% to 39%. Reports in the media, such as a shed in London being ranked as one of the city's best restaurants and a plastic tunnel in a Cornish supermarket listed as a popular attraction may have contributed to this fall in trust.

Younger travellers - those aged 18-24 - are increasingly looking to travel agents for booking holidays rather than relying on online booking, with 32% of survey respondents in this age group more likely to say they will book with a travel professional for new ideas and the destinations they suggest. The survey found that 40% of people in this age group plan to spend more on travel in 2019 because they are keen to take the trip of a lifetime and are increasingly looking for authentic travel experiences. 

In further encouraging news for travel agents, the ABTA survey found that nine out of ten respondents go on to book a holiday via one of the company's channels following a conversation with a travel professional. Of the respondents, 30% had spoken to a travel agent about their last holiday and, off those, 93% then went on to book with that company. Meanwhile, 40% spoke to a travel professional and booked in-store, 30% booked online and 23% booked over the phone. Only 7% of respondents who spoke to a travel agent, booked with another travel company or organised the holiday themselves.

Victoria Bacon, director of brand and business development for ABTA, said: "It's fantastic that consumers are really seeing the benefits of using a travel professional, recognising that they make life easier, quicker and provide the reassurance people are looking for when booking a holiday."

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