AITO Chairman Derek Moore revealed that its members have seen an increase in bookings from agents at yesterday’s AITO Expo. In its latest survey, the association found that 89% of members had seen a rise in bookings through AITO Specialist Travel Agents. Clients were particularly drawn to the financial protection offered by the companies. “Members tell me that people booking DIY holidays have been badly caught out by the ash cloud disruption and airline strikes leaving them out of pocket, chasing compensation and with the inconvenience of trying to rearrange their travel plans at the last minute,” said AITO Specialist Travel Agents’ Chairman Oliver Broad. Despite this find, AITO discovered that financial protection was low on the consumer’s priority. Moore explained that clients valued destination; customer service; the reputation of the company and the price. In addition, the association’s latest survey has shown that although lead-in times are shorter, more than 50 of its operators have seen an increase in bookings. “The big boys of the business are feeling the effects, with Thomas Cook mandating 5% on hoteliers to claw back money,” claimed Moore. “Meanwhile our positive figures show that our members’ personal approach is more safer and creates loyalty.” Meanwhile, AITO’s survey revealed that 72% of holidaymakers intend to go on a city break next year and 51% wanted a cultural experience. Clients also wanted to see wildlife (43%) or head to the beach (40%).