18 Oct

Over half of foreign holidays booked through travel agent or tour operator

The 2010 ABTA Consumer Trends survey unveiled at the Travel Convention in Malta today reveals that 52% of those who have taken a foreign holiday in the last twelve months had booked through a travel agent or tour operator. 24% online with a tour operator, 17% had gone into a high street travel agent and a further 11% over the phone with either an agent or operator.

25% had booked direct with an accommodation provider by phone or internet and 34% direct with a transport provider. For holidays in the UK, 30% dealt through a travel agent or operator with 59% going direct to the accommodation provider and 17% direct to a transport provider.

Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “The last decade has seen an explosion in booking options for the consumer. Many of these options also have been embraced by ABTA Members. Over half of consumers continue to use agents and operators for their foreign holidays as they value the service, protection and standard of product provided.

These are even more relevant in the current difficult economic climate when people need and value the personal touch and care ABTA Members offer.”

Over the same period 77% of customers confirmed they had taken at least one holiday either in the UK or overseas. A higher percentage 66% had holidayed in the UK with 47% going overseas and 36% having taken both a UK and foreign holiday.

However, when travelling abroad we like to spend more time away with half of foreign holidays being seven or more nights in duration as opposed to only a quarter of UK breaks. The economic situation has had an impact but still, 71% said they had taken the same number of or more foreign holidays with the figure rising to 77% for domestic breaks.

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 2,028 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to September 2010.  Fieldwork was conducted in September 2010.