A POPULAR independent travel agent has reopened its Coleraine office as holiday bookings surge for 2021.
Since the travel industry came to a halt in March as a result of the lockdown, JF Travel's 8-strong team has been working with customers to cancel or reschedule bookings from home.
Around 50 percent of customers who had trips cancelled opted to re-book their holiday for 2021 and in many cases enhanced it with a longer stay or a higher star rating hotel.
While many of those who opted for a refund have since re-booked.
Jonathan Fielding, Managing Director said "Although we have worked the whole way through the pandemic dealing with 100’s of holiday cancellations and amendments it is great to be back in our shop serving customers again, doing what we love. Its been a difficult few months but we are so glad to see some light at the end of the tunnel with customers taking to the skies again.
Travel is our passion and watching the world shut down has been devastating but its a great feeling being back booking customers again with a high demand for summer 2021 holidays. Having something to look forward to is the top of everyone's list at the moment and as always we are here to help."
Before coronavirus Travel Agents / Tour operators had a large proportion of travellers, particularly of a certain demographic, that would book a trip over social media or over the phone with little input from an agent, because we have become so accustomed to purchasing online.
JF Travel say that travelers now want an increased level of support and reassurance, as travel agents slowly return to normal.
"This means customer service, particularly face to face, to instil confidence in our customers is key. The problems caused to travel arrangements by Covid-19 has reminded consumers of the benefits of booking through an agent" said Jonny.
He concluded "Recently we have had many local people call us about holidays they have booked online or in stores that have been closed throughout the pandemic asking for guidance and help retrieving a refund for their cancelled holiday.
"We have noticed how customers are feeling drawn towards their local independent travel agents who are always at the end of the phone which is great. It is clear the importance of booking with a fully ATOL protected travel agent on the high street, and we believe it is the future.
"We are proud that we have worked tirelessly for our customers and have been contactable in many different ways over the last 4 months. Contacting clients with effected holidays, and being there for all our customers has been our main priority throughout alongside following FCO advice and the safety of our customers.
"Our optimism remains that we will be able to move freely around our wonderful world once again and we can’t wait to help you book your next holiday. Just pop instore, give us a call or find us on facebook and we will be happy to help with all your holiday needs."
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