Two-thirds of UK consumers researched their most recent overseas holiday online, but a greater proportion used one or more ‘traditional’ sources of travel information.
That is the finding of a study by consumer research firm TNS for Travel Weekly.
One in four consumers (24%) in the survey consulted a travel adviser in an agency or by phone and one in five (19%) gathered information from travel brochures.
Almost one in three (31%) sought advice from friends or relatives, one in seven (16%) turned to travel guides and a similar proportion (14%) looked to newspapers and magazines for travel information.
The survey of 1,300 UK adults in June found almost three in five (57%) had taken, booked or planned an overseas holiday this year or for 2017. TNS asked how they researched the holiday.
It found online information more popular among older respondents than younger, with 70% of over-55s and 78% of those aged 45-54 looking online for information compared with 61% of 16-24-year-olds and just half (52%) of 25-34-year‑olds.
Respondents were asked to identify more than one preferred source of information from a list.
Consulting an agent was most popular among 25-34-year-olds with 17% consulting a travel adviser in person and 18% saying they spoke on the phone. By contrast just 4% of over-55s sought information by phone and 11% from a travel agency. Young adults, aged 16-24, were the second-most likely age group to speak to an agent, with 27% doing so in person or by phone.
The preference for consulting an adviser among younger adults may reflect a desire to talk to someone among those with children, with 18% of holidaymakers with children aged under 10 visiting a travel agent and 21% consulting an adviser by phone.
However, the research also found those in the 25-34 age group least likely to book with an agent, just 10% saying they did so and 85% booking online.
It may come as a surprise to some in the sector to learn that as many as two out of five overseas holidaymakers do not research online at all when planning a trip.
Two-thirds (67%) of those travelling without children sought some information online, compared with 60% of those with children.
A slightly smaller majority (57%) among lower-income (C2DE) families sought information online compared with 69% of those in better-off (ABC1) households.
When TNS asked respondents what they used as the “main source of information” on the last holiday they booked, 57% said the internet – or fewer than three in five.
TNS interviewed 1,302 UK adults aged 16-plus on June 9-13. Of these, 632 had taken or planned an overseas holiday this year. Another 136 who wouldn’t take a foreign holiday this year said they plan to take one in 2017. Two‑thirds said they had booked or would book their holiday online.
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