Travel agents are reporting a “phenomenal” increase in enquiries from business and leisure customers who had previously only booked direct.
Speaking at the Advantage Travel Partnership in Madeira, CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said said 80% of the consortium’s members say they are now hearing from customers who are new to agents.
But she added: “Every booking is, however, more complex with, on average, a human touch by a consultant needed at least three times during the transaction process and we’re seeing this for all types of travellers both in business and leisure.
“We’ve also seen the industry infrastructure buckle under the strain of recent travel surge through a combination of labour shortages, high Covid infection rates amongst staff, complex in-destination restrictions, flight changes, slow approval mechanisms for roles requiring security clearance and again this week passport shambles as confusion hits.”
Chris Lewis, Founder & CEO Travelogix, told the conference audience the pandemic has shown the true value of TMCs.
“A trusted agent or TMC provides a much needed arm around the shoulder for the post pandemic booking environment,” he said. “Their stock is at an all-time high.”