Travelers began to turn to travel agents more, preferring to come to the offices of travel agencies than to book tickets remotely on online platforms. At least, such data for 2023 were presented by the experts of the Schengenvisainfo portal. The reason is that tourists are looking for reliable ways to purchase tours after the pandemic, fearing the loss of money in the event of force majeure.
Experts have analyzed the number of new brick-and-mortar locations in Great Britain that offer holiday arrangements and found that although the region has seen an increase in the popularity of online bookings after the pandemic, physical shops of travel companies, as before, continue to open in the central streets of the country. This is due to recent flight cancellations and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, as well as tourists’ desire for reliable support, security, and guarantees provided by travel agencies. For example, some travel agencies actively attract customers by being able to return money to travelers within 24 hours if something goes wrong due to circumstances beyond the tourist’s control.
The company Trailfinders is among the companies that are actively expanding their physical presence in the market of tourist services, opening new points. At the same time, others, such as Flight Centre, plan to reduce the number of stores and focus on services that employees will provide remotely. As Flight Center UK head Liz Matthews pointed out, alongside people’s genuine desire to travel is nervousness about who they can trust with their travel plans.
In addition, in the current year, tourists prefer travel agents, as the latter offers a higher level of service compared to online booking. Another factor is the personal experience of the tour selection manager. Most often, clients turn to offices to talk to a specialist and hear his personal recommendations on where to go and which destination, resort or hotel to avoid. In the online format, it is difficult to do this, as well as to return the money, travelers are sure.
Regarding the trend of booking methods in Europe, the analysis of the travel market by Oxford Economics showed that travelers from the EU, especially from France, remain loyal to online booking, despite the risks. According to statistics, France is one of the most active countries in buying tours online. The French are the leaders in terms of the number of nights purchased (30 million), followed by the Spanish (27 million), and the Germans (23 million). Almost 44% of short-term rental bookings in the EU between 2017 and 2021 for six European countries were made through online travel agencies such as Expedia and Booking.com.