New research on holiday booking habits from Monetate reveals that despite ‘Sunshine Saturday’ (the first Saturday in January) supposedly being the busiest travel booking day of the year, most UK consumers are not ready to commit to a trip just yet this January.
Whilst 21% of UK consumers will be purchasing holidays this month, over half (53%) look for trips at other times in the year. March and April are the most popular months (20% each) followed by February and May. The second half of the year is a less popular time for booking holidays however, so travel companies must focus their marketing efforts before the British summer creeps in.
Many expect ‘Sunshine Saturday’ to be the peak day but over 52% of British consumers booking in January will be booking after 5th January. 61% of 18-24 year olds do purchase a holiday in the first week of the month however, compared to only 26% of 55-64 year olds, suggesting a more deal-savvy outlook and willingness to make travel plans in the former.
61% say they will likely book their holidays on a PC or laptop whilst 40% will be using their mobile phone or tablet. This is compared to just 20% who will be visiting their local high street travel store to book their next holiday.
Over half (54%) will be using travel agents such as Booking.com or Lastminute.com, however there is still an appetite for going to the source website, with 33% using hotel or resort websites, and 29% using airline websites directly. Improving the online experience for these customers will be key to boosting the latter figures, so customers are getting something different out of forgoing the cost savings on a price comparison site for example.
Personalise or pay the price
Many companies are increasingly personalising the holidays offered to customers, and consumers see the benefit. 85% of British consumers surveyed say they would be open to a travel company personalising their holiday suggestions, with almost a third of those (26%) stating they need ‘all the help they can get’ to choose where to holiday.
47% of UK consumers say they want a clear tailored and personalised booking experience when looking for a holiday. This is their second most important concern behind finding discount vouchers and offers (55%), showing how price conscious consumers are currently. Feedback from previous travellers and reviews is also important to 41% and is especially key to converting the over 65s market.
Focusing on personalisation is not just a move travel companies should take to improve the customer experience – 53% of those surveyed say they would be willing to pay more to have a personalised holiday booking experience. The personalised travel booking offerings UK consumers would like to see are personalised flights based on location, recommendations on the type of hotel offered, suggested activities and a specific ‘made-for-one’ package.
Simon Farthing, Director and Global Strategy & Insights at Monetate comments:
“One thing is clear; consumers will expect personalisation when booking a holiday this year. Consumers are in the market to book and can be encouraged to purchase when recommendations are tailored. These findings show that if travel companies use targeted and personalised content, for example based on consumers’ location or previous product purchases, the opportunity for them to make huge sales beyond the traditional January booking craze is huge.”