10 Oct

ABTA reveals consumers’ top 10 booking essentials

Financial protection, ABTA and ATOL membership continue to take three of the top five positions in consumers’ lists of holiday booking essentials as they did in 2011, illustrating that customers look for reassurance and protection as a priority when booking a holiday.

Also in the top five booking essentials are safe accommodation, ranked number one, with 83% citing this as essential or important, and value for money, ranked number five, with 70% seeing this as essential or important. Well trained and experienced staff is also seen as essential or important with 68% looking out for them.

When compared to last year “lowest prices” have seen the single biggest percentage rise for holidaymakers, with 59% saying that it is one of their booking essentials compared to just over half (53%) last year. It has now overtaken a well- known name in travel as a priority for customers. While financial protection is still rated number two in the list of essentials its importance has decreased slightly from last year when 79% regarded it as essential or important.

These changes perhaps reflect the lack of high profile travel company failures in the last 12 months which may motivate customers to seek financially protected holidays, while demonstrating that consumers are even more cost-conscious than they were a year ago.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Holidays are one of the biggest annual investments for many people, both financially and in terms of time. So it’s perhaps not surprising that factors such as safety, financial protection and value rate more highly when booking than simply finding the lowest prices. Holidaymakers want assurance that their family is going to have a safe and secure holiday and that means they’re not just looking for the cheapest deals.”

Consumers rated the following top ten as essential or important when booking a holiday:

  1. Safe and secure accommodation (83%)
  2. Financial protection (77%)
  3. ATOL protection (71%)
  4. Value for money (but not necessarily the lowest price) (70%)
  5. ABTA Membership (69%)
  6. Knowledgeable staff (68%)
  7. Ease of transport connections to the airport (59%)
  8. Lowest prices (59%)
  9. The range of holidays on offer (59%)
  10. A well-known name in the industry (51%)

*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 September 2012. Fieldwork was conducted in September 2012.