We all know that for holidaymakers, both young and old, the internet is the go-to place to research their next holiday. However, a new study by consumer firm TNS for Travel Weekly has thrown up a number of surprising findings about how Brits research and book their holidays.
The research suggests that more people are using traditional sources of travel information than we might have accounted for.
Of the 1,302 UK adults quizzed by TNS, nearly a quarter (24%) said they consulted a travel agency while researching their most recent overseas holiday, while 19% gathered information from travel brochures.
Nearly a third (31%) went to their friends and family for some sort of steer on where to go, 16% browsed travel guides and 14% thumbed through newspapers and magazines.
Perhaps the most surprising thing we learnt from the survey, conducted in June, is that online information is more popular among older people than younger. Some 70% of over-55s and 78% of those aged 45-54 went looking online for information compared with 61% of 16-24-year-olds and just half (52%) of 25-34-year‑olds.
Speaking to an agent was most popular among 25-34-year-olds with 17% consulting a travel adviser in person and 18% saying they spoke on the phone. However, just 11% of the over-55s questioned said they sought information in person from a travel agency this year, with a further 4% calling an agent.
This trend of the younger generation resorting to traditional routes to glean travel information has some substance it would seem. Young adults, aged 16-24, were the second-most likely age group to speak to an agent, with 27% doing so in person or by phone.
However, perhaps this should come as no surprise at all. Is it a case of the younger generation making the most of helpful advice offered up by travel advisers before heading online to book their holiday?
That certainly tallies with TNS's findings, with just 10% of the 25-34 age group saying they booked their trip abroad with an agent, compared to 85% who booked online.
For travel agents, the survey illustrates the importance of being able to operate seamlessly on both fronts: in person and online. They serve one another, with UK holidaymakers finding value in both channels.
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