MoreTerm-time fines hit family bookings

With family holidays driving 2019 bookings, according to industry analyst GfK, Travel Weekly examines trends in this key market

Families are looking farther afield for their annual holiday, but rising prices and Brexit uncertainty are hitting sales, agents and operators say.

More than half (53%) of agents polled by Tipto exclusively for Travel Weekly reported more demand from families for long-haul or breaks beyond Europe.

Barrhead president Jacqueline Dobson said “farther-flung destinations [are] becoming more appealing [to families]”, while Tui said Florida had been particularly popular.

Thomas Cook did not disclose its latest data, but its trends report showed family long-haul trips were up 64% year on year in
July 2018.

Karl Thompson, managing director of Beaches owner Unique Caribbean Holidays, said: “People are looking to bypass some destinations closer to home and are heading to the US, the Caribbean and other long-haul destinations.”

However, almost 60% of those surveyed said increased prices were impacting sales of family holidays, while just under 50% said Brexit uncertainty was a factor.

Tipto surveyed 337 agents in January on the topic of family holidays.

Just over 41% said they had seen a rise in demand for shorter or more flexible durations, while almost 14% reported a rise in demand for domestic breaks.

Just under 49% said families were making enquiries but were taking longer to book.

Less than 10% said the family market was busier, 22% said it was quieter and 19% said there was no change from last year.

Family bookings were 7% up year on year for the summer season to date on February 2, according to data from analyst GfK, compared with a 3% rise in total bookings.

All-inclusive

Jet2holidays and Hays Travel are seeing growing demand for all-inclusive family holidays.

Melanie Hart, Hays’ divisional sales manager, said all-inclusive “tends to be much better value for money”, adding that families don’t have to worry about the cost of meals and drinks.

Jet2holidays’ head of product, Zoe Towers, said all-inclusive was popular because “budgets are set with entertainment and facilities included”, and flexible durations were also in demand.

Turkey

The re-emergence of Turkey as a low-cost destination is proving a popular choice with families.

Jet2holidays said Turkey was such a “huge hit” for its family market that it had introduced Izmir this year.

Head of product Zoe Towers said this was driven by Turkey’s “great value, climate and family-friendly hotels”. Premier Travel director Paul Waters said Turkey, alongside Bulgaria and Spain, was leading the way for 2019 sales.

Multigenerational holidays

Operators and agents have reported an upturn in demand for multigenerational holidays as grandparents are staying fitter and healthier for longer and have money to spare.

Barrhead president Jacqueline Dobson said the emergence of the multigenerational holiday was “the most noticeable shift in trends for the family holiday” at the agency, while Beaches, Jet2holidays and Premier Travel reported marked increases in people travelling with extended family and as part of a larger group.

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MoreTerm-time fines hit family bookings