09 Jan

Savvy Brits get a head start on holiday bookings

In the traditionally busy sales period post-Christmas, savvy consumers have started to take advantage of holiday bargains, with ABTA Members offering deals such as low deposits, big discounts and free child places. Early indications are positive, with industry figures showing the number of overseas holidays booked to date are up 10% year-on-year*.

Tried and trusted destinations including Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean, and the US, are performing particularly well and holidaymakers are being encouraged to book early to make sure they can get the holiday they want.

ABTA research has shown that in general, people are more likely to book holidays further in advance, with 29% of people booking earlier in 2015 than they did the previous year **. The top three reasons for booking early are cheaper prices/better deals (53%), more chance of availability (35%) and better choice (30%).

The early booking trend is being driven by young people (16-24 year olds) and families with children under 5, with 42% and 37%* respectively booking further in advance in the past 12 months than in previous years.

As the travel industry launches some of its best deals, early bookers can also take advantage of discounted rates and low deposits, which means easier budget planning throughout the year, as well as free child places offering a great deal for families. With unsettled weather predicted until the end of January, having something to look forward to in the cold winter months is another advantage of booking now.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Early bookers are able to take advantage of a range of benefits and discounts, so we hope that customers will make the most of these. These benefits are even more pronounced for families, where availability of child places for the summer months can fill up quickly.”

ABTA’s top reasons to book early:

  • Cheaper prices - January and February is the traditional sales season for travel companies and it’s at this time that they put out their best deals with potential savings of hundreds of pounds
  • Free child places - Tour operators will typically offer a limited number of free child places in January and February, if you leave it too late to book, these are likely to run out
  • Lots of choice - Booking early means that you have a wide range of options as to where and when to go, leaving it late may drastically reduce these options
  • Supply and demand - Remember it’s not just British tourists who are all looking forward to their summer holiday but millions of tourists from other countries too. That puts competitive pressure on hotel rooms and flights, and there’s a limited supply of both
  • Buy now, pay later - If you book a package holiday for the summer you will only initially have to pay a deposit with the balance not due until later in the year. This will help your finances under pressure after Christmas and give you a chance to budget effectively
  • Something to look forward to - The January Blues will be a lot more bearable when you’re counting down the days to your dream holiday
  • Pre booking flight seats - Many airlines now offer the option to pre-book your seats on the aircraft but it’s very much first come first served, so early bookers get priority.
  • Popular destinations and accommodation - Popular destinations and hotels around the world and in the UK will sell early

ABTA helps Earlybirds catch the worm

To help people catch the best deals this year, ABTA has launched a new, interactive booking map at abta.com/earlybird – showcasing deals from ABTA Members on one, easy to view site. The site also provides tips on booking early and how to travel with confidence.

9 January 2016

*Gfk’s Leisure Travel Monitor for bookings up to November 2015

**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 2003 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2015. Fieldwork was conducted in July/August 2015.

For further information contact:

Nina Kapur, Senior Public Relations Manager, tel 020 3117 0514

Sean Tipton, Media Relations Manager, tel: 020 3117 0513

Daisy Parker, PR and Campaigns Manager, tel: 020 3117 0531

Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer via pager: 07659 190 987

E-mail: press@abta.co.uk

Web: www.abta.com

Twitter: @ABTAtravel

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA currently has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £32.07 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.