UK travel industry faces service pressures in Brexit backlash

12th Jun 2017

With 45 million Brits holidaying last year, new research finds that outstanding levels of customer service could bring in £3.6 billion* additional income for the UK travel sector.

The survey from The Institute of Customer Service also looked at potential losses for the sector. When asked what factors would stop them from following through with a booking, half of consumers cited unhelpful staff, rudeness and insufficient website information – meaning inefficiencies and attitudes could cost travel companies more than 22 million customers per year**.

Yet, despite Brits tightening their purse strings, 57% are still willing to pay more for guaranteed levels of customer service to ensure an enjoyable holiday experience.

Based on these findings, The Institute of Customer Service is calling on the UK travel industry to focus on driving up their customers’ experience, or face drastic loss to custom and revenue. Amidst economic uncertainty, The Institute argues that this will help to ensure loyalty amongst holidaymakers, safeguarding future custom and, with it, the bottom line.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, said: “With the value of the pound set to match the euro, British consumers will become more cautious of their spending and, consequently, more aware of what they are receiving in return for their money.

“Our research shows that a poor reputation for customer service could cost holiday companies millions of customers, and much more in pounds. This clearly demonstrates the importance of service to meet the evolving demands of the post-Brexit holidaymaker. The UK travel industry has a huge opportunity to respond with a real focus on speed, efficiency and making the customer feel valued through delivering personalised experiences.  .”

The statistics further reveal 39% of British holidaymakers believe Brexit caused a hike in travel prices alongside an increase in those polled opting for a staycation (39%) compared to last year (36%).

To find out more about how to deliver an excellent customer service experience, visit


*Figure calculated using ONS COICOP figures for the UK, financial year ending 2016. The additional 11.9% per year Brits would spend on guaranteed levels of service on holiday equates to an additional £3,581,900,000 for the travel industry, based on the £30.1 billion spent on overseas holidays last year (according to latest ONS figures).

When asked what factors would put them off completing a booking, 51% of consumers stated insufficient levels of information on a website, 50% stated unhelpful staff, and 51% stated rude staff. Working on the basis that 45 million people from the UK went abroad on holiday last year, insufficient information on a website could cost 23,130,000 customers, unhelpful staff could cost a travel company 22,455,000 customers and rude staff could cost 22,770,000 customers. Figure calculated using ONS Travel Trends figures for the UK, 2016.


The Institute of Customer Service commissioned TLF Research to speak to 2000 consumers in May 2017. 

Notes to editors

For further information please contact: 
Ellie Scott, Bethan Davies or Rebecca Stevenson

E: [email protected]

T: 020 7010 0831 (Ellie Scott), 0207 010 851 (Bethan Davies), 020 7010 0810 (Rebecca Stevenson) 

About The Institute of Customer Service

The Institute of Customer Service is the professional body for customer service delivering tangible benefit to organisations and individuals so that our customers can improve their customers’ experience and their own business performance.  The Institute is a membership body with a community of over 500 organisational members – from the private, public and third sectors – and over 4,000 individual memberships.  For more information about the Institute of Customer Service go to

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