Return of the travel agent: 30% of Aussies are booking travel through a third party
The use of travel agents is having a resurgence as Aussie travellers try to safeguard themselves against COVID-19 disruptions, according to new research by Finder.
A nationally representative survey of 1,000 respondents revealed 1 in 5 (21%) Aussies are more inclined to book travel through a travel agent due to the pandemic.
The level of admin required to travel now is too much for 8%.
The fear of a trip being cancelled (7%) and uncertainty around travel requirements (6%) are also reasons Australians are more likely to book through an agent.
Almost 1 in 10 (9%) were already using a travel agent prior to the pandemic.
Angus Kidman, travel expert at Finder, said booking a trip is no longer as simple as it used to be and the days of booking a last-minute flight and skipping through customs are long gone.
"Travel has changed dramatically since the pandemic, and the amount of research required before booking a trip can seem overwhelming.
"Many travellers want to pass off that responsibility to a travel professional – a service that had started to disappear in the age of the Internet."
Finder research found 1 in 2 (51%) Australians have travel plans in 2022.
Australians with domestic (24%) and international travel plans (15%) are worried new COVID-19 variants will impact their trip.
"Even once you book a trip, the stress doesn't end once you've landed at your destination.
"Rules and regulations are constantly changing – there's an array of information circling online about travelling both in and out of Australia.
"While it may cost a little extra to use a travel agent or third party, it can save you a lot of time and effort on the phone to airlines, hotels and tour operators."
According to the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA), prior to COVID-19, the travel industry experienced year-on-year growth of 11% and maintained growth of 7.25% over the past 5 years.
In 2018-19, Australians spent over $46 billion on international travel, 70% of which was booked through Australian travel agents.
"There are so many new protocols including vaccinations and quarantine requirements that vary per country and change on a regular basis – having someone to take care of all these changes last minute can take the stress off.
"If you do decide to book through a travel agent or third party, the policies and the terms and conditions of both the agent and travel provider will apply, so checking both is a must.
"If you're worried about travelling during COVID-19 and about your trip being cancelled due to border closures, speak to your agent about your options before you book.
"Remember travel insurance remains a must. Popular destinations like Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore have mandated travel insurance that covers COVID-related medical expenses."
Millennials (30%) are the most likely to book through a travel agent nowadays, compared to 13% of baby boomers.
|Has the pandemic made you more likely to book travel through a travel agent?|
|No, I would rather book it myself||38%|
|I don't travel||20%|
|I was already using a travel agent before the pandemic||9%|
|Yes, there is too much admin around travel now||8%|
|Yes, I don't want to book a trip and have it cancelled||7%|
|No, it's too much of a hassle||7%|
|Yes, I don't know what travel requirements there are||6%|
|I would like to, but it's too expensive||6%|
|Source: Finder survey of 1,000 respondents, January 2022|
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