The failure of XL Leisure Group in September 2008 focused consumer attention on financial protection and has worked to the short-term advantage of larger agencies and tour operators, says market analyst Mintel.
Its latest Travel Agents Leisure Intelligence report suggests: “The deepening economic crisis and further airline and tour operator failures are likely to lead customers back towards familiar brand names.”
There is also likely to be “at least a temporary swing back to packaged products”, says Mintel.
However, only 15% of consumers surveyed for the report agree that booking with an agent “protects you financially”, leading Mintel to conclude: “Either agents have yet to really get this message across or it has less traction than [the trade] often suppose”.
For now, the report concludes: “Consumers will seek greater reassurance and cheaper online deals will become harder to find.” But it adds: “The challenge will be to retain this custom when the economy recovers and consumers regain confidence.”