66% of OutThere travellers will book our trips in 2021 with a travel advisor, as compared to just 42% back in 2020’s survey (which already showed a significant year on year uptick since 2019).
The pandemic highlighted the critical role of travel agents. Beyond crisis management, processing rebookings and issuing refunds when due, 2021 will see travel agents as oracles when it comes to understanding the complicated landscape of travel in an uncertain age – from what is open and what is not, to varying health and safety protocols, to vetting each destination and brand based on our values and whether they’re welcoming of our community.
With familiarity also a key travel trend, OutThere travellers are turning to agents to maximise our upcoming holidays with new experiences that only insiders in the industry have access to.
Price sensitivity has also fallen out the bottom of the market, with OutThere travellers now understanding that the value of agents far outweigh the small savings we might make from going direct. However, this does not mean that travel advisors can up their prices because of the increase in demand. OutThere travellers are still looking for fair pricing and moreover will be more demanding of flexibility and peace of mind, so agents will need to work harder and hold our hands more than before, to meet our needs on that front.
It has also become increasingly important for OutThere travellers to be connected to someone in-the-know as we travel. ‘Detailed, timely information-sharing and access’ has been highlighted as a key determinant in agent choice, as well as ‘flexibility’ and ‘chemistry/rapport’.