Advantage members gain new clients but worry about staffing levels

Advantage members report new customers
By Harry Kemble
22/05/2023
Home » Advantage members gain new clients but worry about staffing levels

Almost all Advantage Travel Partnership members have reported gaining new customers, but nearly half said recruiting staff is their biggest concern.

Despite cost-of-living pressures and rising inflation, 96% of members have seen new customers this year, according to a new business impact survey carried out last month.

Analysis showed 52% of the new customers were aged between 45 and 54 and 20% were aged between 35 and 44.

But 47% of members said staffing their businesses was their main worry and 38% reported recruiting people with no travel experience to fill gaps.

More than 40% said rising operating costs were their biggest concerns, with 31% concerned about market pricing.

More than two thirds (69%) of members said they had noticed changes to the types of holidays people were booking post-pandemic, with 53% saying bucket-list escapes were the most popular.

The US remains the most popular long-haul destination but there has been a rise in bookings to see the cherry blossom in Japan, luxury safaris, the Rocky Mountaineer train in Canada and multi-centre itineraries around Australia, New Zealand and the Far East.

Around 50% of customers are looking to book a cruise, with more people booking expedition sailings to the Galapagos and Antarctica, while 47% of Advantage members are seeing customers booking luxury getaways.

Customer research commissioned by Advantage reveals around one in three are planning to take at least two holidays in 2023 and agents say the top five destinations this summer are Tenerife, Majorca, Alicante, Lanzarote and Antalya.

CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said said: “Given the current booking trends, we anticipate that there will be a record number of calls and visits to travel agents this year across the UK.

“It’s wonderful to see, amongst the negative headlines around travel with persistent strikes and rising prices, that so many of our members are feeling optimistic about the year ahead and are seeing their customer bases grow exponentially.”

She added: “The extra bank holiday boosted sales not only for the inbound and domestic travel market but also for outbound travel, as Brits were able to take four days of leave for a nine-day holiday due to the Coronation, which led to a 36% increase in sales across the membership.”

Read more coverage from the Advantage conference:
Advantage boss reveals Government official’s surprise that travel agents still existed
Advantage to expand team to support new members
Advantage offers members new website packages
Advantage members to join reporting system to fight fraud

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