04 Jun

Over a million Brits set to head overseas for a stag or hen party

Newcastle and Prague top destinations for stags whilst hens head to London or Marbella

1.3 million people are set to head overseas this year to celebrate a stag or hen party*. These overseas stag and hen trips are unsurprisingly most popular amongst 25-34 year olds and in 2014 7% of men and 2% of women in this age group partied overseas.

Despite large numbers going abroad, UK based stag and hen parties remain more popular overall. Hens are more likely to hold celebrations at home and stags make up the majority of people travelling abroad; three fifths of people travelling overseas for a stag or hen party are male travellers.

Stag and hen parties are now firmly part of pre-wedding celebrations and with the number of people getting married on the increase according to the ONS,** the number of people planning stag and hen parties is likewise expected to grow.

Reality television dominates stag and hen destinations

According to a survey of ABTA Members specialising in stag and hen breaks, Newcastle, home to Geordie Shore, is the most popular destination for stags in the UK. Similarly, the TOWIE effect has led to Marbella taking the top spot for hen parties abroad.

Top destinations for Stags and Hens

Stags UK  Stags abroad Hens UK  Hens abroad
1. Newcastle 1. Prague 1. London 1. Marbella
2. Bournemouth 2. Barcelona 2. =Newcastle 2. Barcelona
3. Bristol 3. Benidorm 2. =Brighton 3. Benidorm
4. Edinburgh 4. Budapest 4. =Edinburgh 4. Dublin
5. London 5. Riga 4. =Manchester 5. Amsterdam

Stags hunting south and east

For stags, Prague, renowned as a stag destination holds the top spot for overseas destinations with Barcelona, Benidorm, Budapest and Riga making up the rest of the top five. In the UK stags are heading to Newcastle, Bournemouth, Bristol, Edinburgh and London.

Spain rules the roost

Spain is the most popular destination overall for hen parties abroad with Marbella, Barcelona and Benidorm making up the top three destinations. Dublin and Amsterdam complete the top five. Dubai has also been named as a one to watch for hens, with Michelle Keegan heading there for her hen celebrations earlier this year.

London is the most popular destination for UK based hen parties and theatre trips and afternoon tea are popular activities. City breaks are a popular hen choice and Newcastle, Brighton, Edinburgh and Manchester also feature in the top five destinations.

Stags spend more, hens look for luxury on the cheap

Choice of destination is not the only difference between the sexes, according to ABTA Members, stags are more likely to spend more, go for longer and go in a larger group. Stags are also more likely to opt for basic accommodation preferring to spend their money on activities and nights out.

Whilst hens are more cost-conscious they also look for luxury touches, tending to opt for a higher standard of accommodation than stags – and are more likely to enjoy spending time in it. In general, hens will spend more time researching their destination and activities, they are also more likely to share the celebrations with a more mixed group often including the mother of the bride and mother in law to be.

Bubble football and cocktail making top stag and hen activities

When it comes to stag and hen activities, bubble football has grown in popularity to become the most popular stag activity and whilst ABTA Members are reporting that more and more hen parties are booking more traditional stag activities such as paintballing and go-karting, cocktail making remains the most popular hen activity.

Victoria Bacon, ABTA Head of Brand and Business Development said: “Stag and hen parties have grown in size and scale in recent years and we would advise anyone booking one of these important holidays to do so with a reputable provider. There is an incredible range of destinations and activities out there to suit any pre-wedding party.”

* 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 2001 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2014. Fieldwork was conducted in July 2014.

** http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/marriages-in-england-and-wales--provisional-/2012/stb-marriages-in-england-and-wales--provisional---2011.html