More than three-quarters (77 per cent) of mature travellers say that receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will provide them with the confidence to book and travel again within the next six months, according to a new consumer travel survey. The Advantage Travel Partnership and Silver Travel Advisor have partnered up to conduct the study, which also found that 46% of respondents cited that they planned to make the most of their re-established freedom and travel as much as possible once they have been vaccinated, demonstrating it’s clearly this demographic which will be leading the recovery of travel this year.
The research, which was completed by 477 respondents over the age of 50 from across the UK and conducted between 28 December 2020 and the end of January 2021, found that 94 per cent of people planned to have the COVID-19 vaccine once they have been contacted by the NHS for their appointment. The survey also examined spending habits for future trips, to see what impact the pandemic may have had on travellers’ budgets. 60% of respondents advised that their budget would remain unchanged, while 26 per cent of people intend to spend more to make up for holidays that have been missed while travel restrictions have been in place. These results indicate that there is real opportunity for travel agents to harness silver travellers’ desire to travel and their potential spending power, especially over the coming months when a large proportion of this target market are vaccinated.
When consumers were asked about the reasons why they use a travel agent, almost half (49 per cent) of respondents said that they booked with an agent because of the advice and expertise that they offer. Another contributing factor to booking with an agent was having the reassurance of someone who could help if needed (42 per cent), and 38 per cent of those surveyed referenced that financial security was another key reason. When asked what type of travel agent they were more likely to book with, 46 per cent answered that they would opt for an independent travel agent.
In terms of consumers choosing the right travel agency for them, 36 per cent would opt for an agency that specialises in the type of travel they are interested in, such as cruise and 20 per cent of respondents would select a Select a Silver Travel Advisor recommended travel agent.
Debbie Marshall, managing director at Silver Travel Advisor said, “We are really pleased to see from the survey that the COVID-19 vaccine is creating confidence among 50+ market to plan and book future travel, both in the UK and abroad. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, even the savviest silver traveller may be more hesitant when it comes to travel and now more than ever, it’s clear that the advice and reassurance a travel agent can bring is invaluable. Through our partnership with Advantage, their members have exclusive access to the Silver Travel Advisor accreditation training which will help agents understand the mature market and the different segments. Upon completion of the course, accredited agents will be featured on the Silver Travel Advisor website, which is a great opportunity for agents to promote their services and grow its customer base.”
Kelly Cookes, leisure director at Advantage Travel Partnership commented, “We know that consumer confidence has been severely affected throughout the pandemic, so it’s reassuring that the vaccine is giving three-quarters of mature travellers the hope that they can and will travel again. To ensure our members have all the tools available to convert enquiries from into bookings, our agent members also have access to our own digital version of the customer magazine ‘The Silver Traveller’, to help them market effectively to the over 50s (next issue out mid-February 2021).”