Kantar Media: most British adults planning a holiday in 2012, despite downturn

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Despite the state of the economy, 90% of British adults are planning a holiday in 2012, up from 82% who took a break last year, according to Kantar Media Compete’s Online Shopper Intelligence Report.

However, holiday cost is still a major concern for UK consumers, said researchers. It found 49% of the UK online population visiting the EasyJet website in Q1 2012, making it the UK’s leading airline website. Travelodge and Premier Inn were the most popular hotels, seeing 54% and 52% of unique visitors respectively (compared to the Hilton and Marriott, which scored 10% each).

The Online Shopper Intelligence report also found price was one of the key reasons holiday-makers gave for visiting airline and hotel websites to book the different elements of their trip separately, rather than using an online travel agent (OTA). Two thirds (65%) of people travelling by plane buy their tickets from the airline compared to 31% using an OTA, and 28% of hotel visitors arrange accommodation directly, said researchers.  

OTAs do see plenty of research traffic – online behavioural data from Kantar Media Compete shows 72% of people going abroad and 50% of those travelling in the UK in April used sites such as Booking.com and Expedia to look into their travel initially. Although price was the primary factor determining their behaviour, consumers chose to make their bookings direct due also to the speed, choice, accuracy and ease with which bookings and changes could be made on airline and hotel websites, said Kantar Media.

Separate analysis by Kantar Media of travel articles in newspapers and magazines indicated  improved currency rates were making European destinations more affordable, supporting the findings of the Online Shopper Intelligence report: 41% of people taking a holiday in 2012 were going to Western Europe and 19% had chosen central and eastern Europe.  But despite favourable exchange rates, 62% of consumers were intending to travel in the UK, as a result of the Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics, report researchers.

For holidays taken in April this year, 80% of people staying in the UK used a car, with 49% of holiday-makers travelling abroad doing the same. Train journeys accounted for 19% of UK holidays and 15% of overseas ones, with bus trips scoring 17% and 18% respectively. 

John Thekanady, client services director, Kantar Media Compete, said: “One issue clearly flagged up by the report is OTAs would benefit from taking a closer look at the needs of their audience and how they can meet them. This is particularly pertinent in view of the reach of EasyJet, with hire cars, hotels, package breaks etc, is fulfilling the role of an OTA. The findings also indicate there are untapped opportunities online for bus and rail companies. They could boost their digital sales significantly by improving their online marketing and distribution channels – particularly as the price of petrol continues to rise.”

The full Online Shopper Intelligence report can be downloaded from: www.kantarmedia.compete.com.