More than 70% of Australians view travel agents as a “trusted source of travel and safety advice”, which is 15% more than felt that way a few years ago.
The finding comes from the SureSave 2016 Travel Insurance Index – annual, independently commissioned research by the travel insurance brand, involving 1000 respondents. It found that trust in agents had increased 15% since 2012.
Agents are the most popular method of booking travel and purchasing travel insurance, and are also the most popular method of researching a suitable travel insurance policy, the study found.
The findings also show that 36% of Australians booked their last overseas leisure trip with a travel agent, either in-shop or over the phone, making agents the most popular method of booking travel in Australia.
The SureSave Index measures Australian traveller behaviour and opinions on booking travel and travel insurance policies.
Commenting on the finding, SureSave’s national sales director, Talbot Henry, said the research had delivered valuable insights into traveller behaviour and perceptions of agents, of booking travel, and of insurance policies.
“Agents have become a more trusted source of advice for travellers since we began our annual research four years ago,” Henry said.
“We believe this is due to travellers desiring higher service when it comes to general travel and travel insurance in particular. In 2015, we saw the large impact that natural disasters can have on Australian travellers, notably in Nepal and Bali.
“This has led to an increase in the value that travellers place on the knowledge and expertise of travel agents, seeing a move away from the perceived advantages of price and convenience from purchasing online.
“For their most recent international leisure trip, 29% of respondents told us that they purchased their travel insurance policy from a travel agency, making this the most popular option to purchase travel insurance in Australia.”
In addition, 27% of respondents found out about their travel insurance policy from their travel agent, which was by far the most popular answer followed by “a Google search” (16%).
“Added to this, government tourism forecasts by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) predicts that outbound departures will grow by 3.4% to 9.9 million in 2016-2017,” Henry added.
“The 10-year average growth rate is forecast at 3.3%, which will result in outbound departures reaching 12.8 million by 2024-25. The role of the agent is crucial and we’re passionate about ensuring that they are well-equipped to advise their customers to choose the right travel insurance policy for them.”
SureSave’s 2016 Travel Insurance Index is the company’s fourth consecutive annual independent research project.
Edited by Peter Needham