Packages still dominant choice for families, says research

Packages still dominant choice for families, says research

Package holidays continue to be the dominant choice for families - but the predicted switch from 14 night durations to seven nights has not materialised.

Packages accounted for the majority of holidays taken last summer, according to Ascent MI's Leisure Travel Monitor covering sales through Thomas Cook, TUI Travel, and more than 50% of ABTA travel agents.

The LTM had predicted seven nights would overtake 14 nights in summer 2008 based on a significant shift to shorter duration holidays in summer 2007.

Ascent MI chief executive Sarah Smalley admitted: "Because of the speed of change in 2007, it appeared seven nights would overtake 14 nights for families but that didn't happen in 2008. There appears to have been stabilisation."

The 14-night holiday remained dominant, making up just over 40% in passenger numbers for family holidays in summer 2008, 4% down on summer 2007. Passenger numbers for seven night family holidays were 6% down year on year, making up approximately 35% of family packages in summer 2008.

However, revenues in the family market have been driven up by sales of short breaks - six nights or less. Revenue was up £34 million last summer but only made up only around 17% of passengers, up 4% on summer 2007.

For non-family holidays, seven nights remained the most popular duration last summer, making up just under 40% of passengers. This compared to 14-night holidays, which made up just 24% of passengers last summer but amounted to 36% of revenue, up 1% year on year.

The biggest year-on-year growth in durations of holidays sold in the adult market was for eight to 13 nights, up 20%, and short breaks, up 7% - or 200,000 passengers. Short breaks, which represented 30% of passengers last summer, represented £169 million in extra revenue.

Meanwhile, sales of all-inclusive holidays were up 18% last summer, overtaking half-board holiday sales, which fell. Self-catering holidays saw a double-digit decline last summer.

Homepage image: F1 Online / Rex Features

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