21 Oct

ABTA reveals the 2013 booking habits of UK holidaymakers

Nearly two thirds booked an overseas holiday through a travel agent or tour operator

New research* released by ABTA today reveals that six out of ten consumers (62%) have booked an overseas holiday with a travel agent or tour operator in the last twelve months. 

One in five (19%) booked through a high street travel agent and a quarter booked with a travel agent online (23%) and one in five directly with a tour operator (20%). For domestic holidays a third (33%) booked at least one holiday with a travel agent or tour operator.

Younger generation agents’ biggest fans

A quarter (24%) of 16-24 year olds booked at least one overseas holiday through a high street travel agent . Travel agents’ expertise also scores particularly highly amongst the younger generation with more than four out of ten 16-24 year olds (44%) saying that they value the services that a travel agent offers. 16-24 year olds also feel strongly that using a travel professional can save them time (62%) and money (52%) as well as making the booking process easy (64%). Maintaining and building on this good will represents an important business opportunity for travel agents and other travel professionals.

Baby Boomers like the tour operator experience

55-64 year olds were the only age group to take more holidays per person in the 12 months to 2013 compared to the same period the previous year. This correlates with an increase in the number of 55-64 year olds booking at least one holiday abroad directly with a tour operator, with 28% making this type of booking compared to 23% in the previous year’s study.

General holiday booking and direct bookings websites healthy

Three out of ten (29%) booked overseas holidays through general holiday websites compared to a quarter (25%) for domestic holidays. Four out of ten (41%) booked direct with service providers such as airlines or hotels for overseas holidays rising to half (51%) for domestic holidays.

Victoria Bacon, ABTA Head of Communications said: “It is clear from our findings that consumers are making full use of all of the booking options available to them. Travel agents and tour operators play a vital role in helping consumers to research and book holidays with two thirds of consumers using their services when booking their overseas holidays. Goodwill towards travel professionals is particularly strong amongst younger consumers so it is important travel businesses build on this, as these customers mature.”

*Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2008 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2013. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2013.