Three quarters of agents say clients aren’t prepared to pay for even the cheapest COVID tests currently on the market, dampening hopes of a travel recovery this summer unless prices come down.
Last week, PCR test provider Randox announced it would cut the cost for international travellers using a discount code from their airline, to £60 per test – but even that would be too high for many clients, agents say.
According to exclusive research carried out among Travel Gossip members, to coincide with the launch of Travel Gossip News, most agents believe customers won’t pay more than £50 for a test.
In fact, testing is one of the top two concerns for clients, according to survey results.
Over half of agents (54%) say customers won’t pay more than £50 for a test, while another 19% say clients would only pay up to £20. Just over 15% say their clients would be happy to pay between £50-£70. Of the remainder, 3% would pay between £75-£150 and almost 9% would pay ‘whatever it takes’.
Of those taking part in the research, 87% said the issue of COVID tests was a concern for clients.
The risk of being forced to quarantine is the main reason clients are reluctant to book abroad, while other concerns include last-minute changes to the Government’s proposed ‘traffic-light system’ and the risk of losing money if they decide to cancel.
Agents said there was ‘too much uncertainty’, ‘no clarity in updates’, ‘no clear roadmap’ and ‘too many tests even for a country on the green list’– all of which are making customers ‘cautious of committing to any travel’.
One agent taking part in the survey said: “We are unable to give accurate and concise information. We are relied upon for this and all we can provide is assumption.”
More than a quarter of agents report clients have said they hope their holidays will be cancelled because they no longer want to travel. Of these, 37% said ‘quite a few’ clients have said this.
And – a year after the start of the pandemic – more than a fifth of agents are relying on a second income to get by and almost half are worried about their future, with only 15% saying public confidence in the travel industry is high.