The holiday world according to ABTA

By | Category: Travel news
Margate - beach with donkeys

Beach holidays drooped last year as city breaks became more popular

Last week the ABTA annual get-together met in Abu Dhabi. Originally an organisation of travel agents it also has tour operators as members, many of whom sell package holidays, cruises and flights.

This is a brief summary of some of the comments made at the conference which might be of interest to holidaymakers.

Research carried out by them shows that more than half of British holidaymakers took a package holiday, one reason being the additional security that booking a package that is ATOL bonded provides. Perhaps surprisingly this increase is more noticeable in the 18-24 year old age group, a group that in the past has opted for not using bricks and mortar travel agents.

Almost two thirds (63%) of people aged over 65 took a package holiday last year, compared to 47% in 2015. Over half (55%) of 18-24 year olds took a package holiday abroad in the last 12 months, compared to 46% in 2015.

The most popular reason for choosing a package holiday is ‘Having everything taken care of’, which was selected by 73% of consumers.

Despite terrorist attacks, an attempted coup in Turkey and the Zika virus in parts of the Americas, Asia and the Caribbean, over half the population (56%) took a holiday abroad in the last year, a 2% increase on 2015 which, allied to the number who took staycations suggests that it was a bumper holiday year for the travel industry.

ABTA says that people have either been choosing to explore destinations closer to home or places they perceive to be safer. City breaks remain the nation’s favourite holiday type, with over half the population (53%) having taken one in the past twelve months and nearly as many planning to take one in the next twelve. The number of people taking beach holidays in the last year has fallen back to 2014 levels (38%) after a strong 2015 (50%). Could it be that people were wary of beach holidays given the attacks in Tunisia and Egypt? Could it be that beach holidays are falling out of fashion?

Almost half (45%) of people stated they are quite likely or very likely to visit a country they have never been to before, compared to over a third (36%) who said the same thing in 2015. There has been a similar increase in people who are quite likely or very likely to visit a resort or city they have never been to before. Over half (54%) stated this in 2016 compared to 46% who said this last year.

The number of people who say they will take an all-inclusive holiday next year is increasing as well. In the last 12 months, 18% of people took an all-inclusive holiday and 25% are planning to take one in the next year.

sitting on a beach using a mobile phone

booking holidays by mobiles dropped. Why? Is it too difficult?

ABTA says that the PC continues to be by far the most popular booking device, with mobile phone bookings down year-on-year. Mobile phones are less popular as a device for booking than they were a year ago, with 13% of people stating that they booked a holiday using a mobile phone in the past year, down from an average of 16% in 2015. The exception is the 35-44 year-old age group, where mobile bookings are up 3% from 16% to 19%.There were falls among 18-24 year olds and those aged over 55. Bookings on tablets have remained fairly flat since last year, with 23% of online bookers using them compared to 24% last year.

An increase in 35-54 year olds using them has been offset by a fall in 18-24 year olds doing so.The vast majority – 92% – use a PC to book. Those aged 25-34 were the least likely to use a PC but the most likely to use a tablet with 37% doing so. ABTA says the reason could be that people find the mobile booking experience more difficult. The research shows 44% of people found booking with a mobile phone easy compared to 80% who said the same about booking with a PC. Just over half (54%) stated that booking with a tablet was easy.

Do your holiday habits mirror what ABTA says?


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