Agents missing out on UK holiday sales, finds research

Agents missing out on UK holiday sales, finds research

Agents are missing a major opportunity to sell domestic holidays, if research for Travel Weekly goes even part way to indicating the potential size of the market.

An Explore survey in February suggested half the adult population planned a UK short break or holiday and almost half (45%) would consider booking with an agent, online or on the high street. Almost one in 10 (8%) said they “always book with a travel agency”.

Explore questioned a respresentative sample of 500 UK adults last month and found 41% “more likely” to book a UK holiday than a year ago. Only 12% were less likely.

Half the respondents (51%) said their next holiday or break would be domestic, 31% saying they planned a UK short break and 20% a holiday. More than one in four (28%) said they would go overseas.

Tourist board VisitEngland is poised to unveil a £2 million campaign to boost domestic bookings through the trade, expected to launch this spring.

VisitEngland marketing director Alex Mawer confirmed: “We’ll be running a TV campaign to boost domestic holidays at the beginning of May.”

Mintel estimated sales of domestic holidays through agents at 2.3 million in 2011, just 4% of the 58.4 million domestic short breaks and holidays that year. The Explore figures suggest agents should be selling 4.6 million (8% of the total). The 45% who ‘would consider’ using an agent equates to 26.3 million holidays .

Young adults (18-34) appear most likely to have a UK holiday: 55% said they intended to do so against 36% of 35 to 54-year-olds and 33% of those aged over 55. The lower cost of domestic breaks was cited as the main attraction.


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