Travel experts reign in an era of information overload, says Kuoni

Travel planning has become more of a chore; some customers still prefer expertise and advice from agencies

While today’s travellers love browsing the web for ideas and inspiration, there is a swing back to “real expertise” when it comes to booking, according to a new report by UK tour company Kuoni.

In its Worldwide Trends Report 2018, Kuoni shared that 59 per cent of respondents prefer real advice from trusted experts when booking a holiday.

Travel planning has become more of a chore; some customers still prefer expertise and advice from agencies

The same research shows that 49 per cent strongly agree that travel planning has become more of a headache than an enjoyable part of the holiday; 79 per cent feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they get online before booking a holiday; 52 per cent say they are unsure of which online sites, reviews and data to trust when booking a holiday.

The company recorded a 38 per cent surge in appointments in 2017 over 2016, with the average length of consultation lasting two hours. A surprising 59 per cent do not have a destination in mind and are happy to be inspired.

Kuoni is seeing more customers make initial enquiries through webchat, which it introduced four years ago. Webchat is a “great ice-breaker” and “increasingly online chats go on to more detailed conversations about the trip face-to-face at an appointment or on the phone”, the report added. The company is also receiving more specialist phone calls as generic phone calls go down.

Kunoi highlights that when it comes to more complex, multi-centre travel, real expertise and advice is still central to converting browsing into booking.

This observation is given further weight with Kuoni pointing out the growing demand for “epic combinations”. “Kuoni customers are increasingly looking to combine two or more touring holidays into one epic holiday, allowing them to tick off as many of the world’s iconic sights as possible,” the agency noted in the report.

“For the Highlights of South Korea tour, some 70 per cent of 2018 bookings are in combination with the Highlights of China or Japan tours,” Kuoni stated. Another epic Asian trip trending among Kuoni customers is the 20 nights Ultimate Indochina itinerary, which combines Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

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