23 Sep

Sources of holiday ideas and inspiration for Brits

Despite the digital revolution allowing holidaymakers constant access to online advice and booking information, consumers are choosing a multi-channel approach to inspire and inform their holiday choices. Rather than replacing face-to-face and print sources, internet search engines and websites sit alongside more traditional offline sources, new research* by ABTA reveals.

Consumers were asked what sources they used to both inspire them in their holiday choices, and also for practical information. General internet search engines top the list of sources with 41% of people using them to look for holiday ideas and inspiration and 43% using them for practical information. This is followed by holiday/destination brochures with 36% using them for ideas and inspiration and 35% for practical information.

Recommendations from friends, family and colleagues and travel review websites are also popular sources of inspiration and practical information.

Travel professionals, used by one in five (20%) people, are the fifth most used source of practical information and newspaper or magazine articles make up the top five sources of ideas and inspiration with one in five (22%) using them. 15% of people used travel company websites for ideas and inspiration and 18% used these sites for practical information.

Table 1.1 Top five sources used for researching and planning holidays

Used for ideas and inspiration   Used for practical information   
General internet searching (e.g. general Google search) 41% General internet searching (e.g. general Google search) 43%
Holiday/destination brochures 36% Holiday/destination brochures 35%
Recommendations from friends/family/colleagues 34% Travel review websites (e.g. TripAdvisor) 35%
Travel review websites (e.g. TripAdvisor) 27% Recommendations from friends/family/colleagues 27%
Newspaper or magazine articles either in print or online 22% Travel professionals e.g. travel agent 20%










Victoria Bacon, ABTA Head of Communications said: “A holiday is a very significant purchase for most consumers and it is clear the people are keen to use a wide variety of sources both to inspire and inform their decision-making.  Travel professionals are a popular source of information, particularly among younger consumers, but it is perhaps surprising to see that travel company websites don’t make it into the top five sources either for ideas or information.  This suggests there is an enormous opportunity for travel companies to play a pivotal role in the consumer booking journey by continuing to improve their website offering and by tapping into other popular sources of information and inspiration.”

Power of personal key for younger holidaymakers

Younger consumers actively use a much wider range of sources than average when researching and planning a holiday and show greater emphasis on personal recommendations, consulting friends or family, social media or travel professionals for both inspiration and practical information.

Table 1.2 Top 5 sources used by 16-24 year olds for researching and planning holidays

Used for ideas and inspiration    Used for practical information  
Recommendations from friends/family/colleagues 49% General internet searching (e.g. general Google search) 48%
Social media (e.g. Facebook, twitter) 44% Travel review websites (e.g. TripAdvisor) 45%
General internet searching (e.g. general Google search) 44% Holiday/destination brochures 42%
Holiday/destination brochures 37% Recommendations from friends/family/colleagues 37%
Travel review websites (e.g. TripAdvisor) 30% Travel professionals e.g. travel agent 34%









Whereas other age groups are most likely to seek inspiration for themselves from internet searching or brochures, the 16-24 age group is more likely to consult someone they know with half (49%) using recommendations from friends/family/colleagues as a source of inspiration. Those aged 16-24 were also more than twice as likely to use social media for inspiration with 44% doing so compared to an average of 18%.

In addition, over a third (34%) of people aged 16-24 use travel professionals for practical and factual information compared to one fifth (20%) on average. A quarter (25%) also used travel professionals for ideas and inspiration compared to an average of 17%.

Despite their reputation as digital natives, younger people were also the most likely to use printed guidebooks as a source of ideas and inspiration (21% compared to an average of 14%) and practical information (28% compared to an average of 15%).

*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.

A full summary of the research findings can be found in our Consumer Holiday Trends Report 2014.