WTM 2016: Data confounds fears of post-referendum drop in consumer confidence

WTM 2016: Data confounds fears of post-referendum drop in consumer confidence

Latest industry data indicates that people are booking holidays earlier, confounding expectations of a hit on consumer confidence following June's Brexit referendum.

Google search data, GfK booking figures and Office For National Statistics departure numbers all indicate relatively positive trading, a Santander and Travel Trade Consultancy seminar was told at World Travel Market.

TTC director Martin Allcock said booking volumes for summer 2016 will end 4% up with packages outperforming the market up 6%. Both short-haul and long-haul are up, a reflection of the collapse in mid-haul sales with Egypt and Turkey down 70% and 39% respectively.

This winter is up 17% which "shows there is an appetite for people booking early", said Allcock, and that there is discretionary spend still available as winter holidays tend to not be seen as being as necessary as summer.

Alcock noted a move to shorter durations of six nights or less which were up 30% and could indicate people trading down or going on more but shorter holidays. There has also been a big increase in self-catering which may be alternative way people are budgeting who do not want to opt for all inclusive, the big trend following the 2008 financial crisis.

Although it is still early days for Summer 2017 GfK report it is up 5% with family bookings up 12% and six night or under trips up 58%, Alcock said. August saw 6% more departures year on year according to the ONS while people reported spending 10% more on their trips, increases that reflected the year to date position.

"There are some reasons to be positive," Alcock said. "Inquiries and bookings seem to be up. Confidence is down a little but not hugely."

Alcock said the positive data went some way to justifying the optimistic outlook of 70 TTC clients who were surveyed during the recent September Atol renewals who were for forecasting 22% growth in the next financial year.

With oil prices set to remain low, prices are not expected to rise much, but major airlines have indicated a cutting back if capacity growth post referendum and this could push prices up.

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