ABTA – The Travel Association reveals that ABTA Members are reporting strong early bookings for summer 2014 with some companies reporting sales up more than 10% year on year. Following weeks of bad weather, with the UK battered by a series of storms, latest reports indicate that British holidaymakers are very much looking forward to the summer.
The positive start to 2014 also indicates British holidaymakers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of booking early: research conducted at the end of the 2013 summer holidays shows an increasing number of people said they had booked their holiday further in advance that year compared to 2012*.
Across all holidays, just over a quarter (27%) of consumers said they booked further in advance, half (53%) booked at the same time and one in five (20%) said they had left it later, booking closer to the departure date. Younger travellers (16-24 year olds) are the most likely to book in advance, almost half (48%) booked their holiday further in advance in 2013 and early booking was also favoured by people with young families, 41% of whom booked further in advance.
Better deals/cheaper prices is the main motivator for booking early, over six in ten (62%) cited this as their reason, and ABTA Members have reported that early booking offers such as free child places and low deposit schemes have proved popular. Nearly half (49%) booked in advance for better availability, while better choice (33%) and getting time off work (26%) were also popular reasons.
ABTA is launching a new hub on its website for holidaymakers: www.abta.com/earlybird with advice on booking early and an interactive web tool with information and inspiration on which destinations to visit at different times of the year. ABTA Members will also be promoting their services and deals on Twitter using the hashtag #ABTAearlybird, for one week from 20th January – giving thousands of consumers real time information on holiday offers.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “We are cautiously optimistic about holiday bookings in 2014 so it’s very encouraging to see a strong start to the year and we are also pleased that more consumers appear to understand why it’s important to book early. But with one in five people leaving it later to book in 2013, it’s important that we get the message out about the benefits of booking early: the travel industry traditionally launches some of its best deals at this time of year and holidaymakers who book early can take advantage of these, as well as getting greater choice and availability. These benefits are even more pronounced for families where availability of child places for the summer months can fill up quickly.”
Here are ABTA’s reasons why you should book early:
For more tips and great deals visit www.abta.com/earlybird
*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.