The Death of the Travel Agent as We Know It?

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A recent survey into holiday plans for this summer shows the Package Holiday is no longer first choice and the travel agent is being bypassed in favour of the internet.

The survey by online money saving giant, Top CashBack asked members about their intentions for getting away from it all between June and September and found a few surprises. Of those surveyed less than 10% would be using a travel agent to book their holiday with almost 80% of respondents booking their holiday themselves as separate components online. It’s clear booking flights, car hire and hotels separately proves much more popular and cheaper than the average package holiday and of course astute online shoppers can earn their own cashback rather than give commission to a travel agent.

Almost 75 per cent of those responding to the survey claimed they would be spending the same or more on their summer holiday this year compared to 2009.

Less than 40% of those having a holiday, planned to stay in the UK, the majority preferring to go further afield, despite the threat of airline strikes and volcanic ash. And of those going overseas, most were booking flights, accommodation and car hire as separate components and making all the arrangements online.

Of those staying in the UK over 80% planned to drive to their destination which for most was either a holiday home or a caravan. Surprisingly almost as many (20%) were planning to stay in a tent as were planning to stay in a hotel.

The online survey was carried out among the half a million members of Top CashBack who are used to shopping online and saving money. The responses revealed just where the holiday money is spent and how simple it is to save significant sums. Airport parking, sunglasses, new clothes and travel insurance were all cited as examples of money saving opportunities, with cashback rates as high as 15% in some cases.

Inevitably with a survey among online shoppers, the vast majority preferred to make their own arrangements online to take advantage of the cashback offered by the various retailers. Less than 10% booked through a travel agent.

38% of respondents had no plans to go away for the summer, a third of them had gone away last year but budget was the main factor preventing them. Two thirds of those staying at home for the summer preferred not to holiday in peak season, avoiding the crowds (and the higher prices).

Duncan Robb, Head of PR at TopCashback said:
“Holidays represent a significant expense in the annual budget and our members are quick to spot ways they can earn cashback and bag themselves a bargain to reduce the cost of getting away. This survey has shown how habits are changing and the increasing trust that consumers have in online shopping for everything they buy.”

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Duncan Robb
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