Travel Agents

Flight Centre top in people’s choice

Kate Webster

Flight Centre is the agent of choice for Aussies booking travel according to recent findings by Roy Morgan Research.

Between July 2015 and June 2016, just over 13.7 million Australians 14 years or older took at least one holiday, and of these Aussie holiday-goers, 7.3 million (52.8%) reported using a travel agent or tour operator for at least one of the trips they took.

This figure is more than double the number (3.2 million) that didn’t use one at all.

So who is Australia booking with?

No prizes for guessing that Flight Centre has clinched top spot once again, with some 12.6% of Australian holiday-goers using Flight Centre for at least one trip in the 12 months to June 2016, giving the chain a respectable lead over online accommodation service Booking.com (11.4%).

Wotif.com ranked a distant third at 6.8%, ahead of Webjet (6.1%) and, in its first year of being measured in the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracker Survey, Airbnb (5.5%).

The Online Travel Agents (OTAs) did dominate the list, as besides Flight Centre, the only travel agent with a bricks-and-mortar presence to crack the Top 10 was Helloworld, used by 2.8% of holiday-goers.

Travel booking trends amongst different groups of travellers were also researched and revealed even the popular Flight Centre does not have fingers in all pies and were more likely to attract certain groups of travellers than others.

‘Social Flyers’ used Flight Centre for at least one holiday in the 12 months to June 2016 – well above the national average and more than five times the proportion of ‘Rural Traditionalists’ (4.0%), the Persona least likely to choose Flight Centre.

The Social Flyers are frequently young, sociable and single, who earn good wages but are not yet tied down by too many financial or family responsibilities. So they indulge their love of overseas travel, but with the hectic schedule they keep, they may be too busy to organise all the finer details themselves. Just as well Flight Centre’s complete travel service, from flights to hotels, cruises to package deals.

At the other end of the scale, Rural Traditionalists tend to be older, living in country areas and working hard in blue-collar jobs to pay off their mortgage before retirement. They generally stay in Australia for holidays, organising their budget getaway on the Virgin Australia Holidays website, Lastminute.com or Hotels.com rather than visiting a travel agent.

Meanwhile, Airbnb attracts an elevated proportion of people from the Big Future segment. Educated, cultured, switched on and usually coupled up, Big Future would find Airbnb appealing for the way it allows travellers to feel more like locals and less like tourists. They may have started a family, but they’re still hipsters at heart.


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