Only a tiny minority of British travellers use a travel agent on the high street to book their holidays, a new poll claims.
The TripAdvisor study shows that just 7% of people visit a travel agency branch to make their travel arrangements.
Only 4% use a traditional agent as a source of travel information, with travel review websites topping the list (38%), followed by online travel agencies (19%) and operator websites (16%). Other sources used include friends and family (10%), travel magazines and brochures (6%), and social media (4%)
The study of 35,000 travellers and hoteliers around the world shows that 41% of British travellers plan to increase their travel budget this year, with only 26% planning to cut back.
Travellers from the UK are feeling more secure than others – only 23% claim the current economic climate will impact their travel decision making compared to 31% of global travellers and 30% of Europeans.
With travellers going online for their travel research and planning, they are also showing preference for the internet as the primary booking channel, according to the TripBarometer research.
Globally, the majority of travellers are booking accommodation via web-based travel agencies (27%), closely followed by accommodation provider websites (23%).
TripAdvisor for Business president Christine Petersen said: “With travellers choosing digital channels for their travel planning and research, traditional word of mouth has been amplified and online booking has become the norm across the globe.
“Furthermore, as travel budgets increase and European accommodations plan to keep room rates steady, it seems likely that Europe will prove to be great value for money for international travellers this year.”
The study also found that more than half (58%) of UK accommodation providers are optimistic about business profitability. While this is broadly in line with other European countries (54%), it is lower than the global average of 68%, and considerably behind North America (83%).
Yet 40% of UK accommodation suppliers plan to increase their rates in the next six months, while 55% plan to keep them the same.