The travel industry needs to do more to offer holidaymakers bespoke holidays, personalised to their individual needs, according to the boss of Virgin Holidays.

The call from managing director Joe Tompson comes as research revealed that British travellers only really start to get the most from a holiday at the age of 31.

Experiences such as whale watching and helicopter rides are among the activities those in their thirties are most interested in, along with cultural excursions such museums and art galleries.

The findings emerged after six in ten admitted they have been on a holiday only to return home feeling like they have not really had a break at all.

The research of 2,000 holidaymakers was commissioned by Virgin Holidays, which is introducing 250 new ‘experiences’, enabling travellers to personalise their holidays and trips.

When booking a holiday, top of the list of criteria across all age groups is cost, while the weather and the distance from door to destination is also important.

Thompson said: “It’s apparent we all want different things from our getaways and there is no one-size fits all when it comes to holidaying.

“We want to empower customers to do more on their travels, with personalised itineraries.

“The experiences include activities for thrill-seekers, outdoor adventurers, foodies, shopaholics and sci-fi fanatics.”

A quarter of people in their thirties are happy to get a moment to read a book, while 27% want to do “as little as possible”.

However, theme park holidays are most popular among this group.

And more respondents in their thirties and forties said family time makes holidays live long in the memory than anyone else.

While a greater proportion of 50 year olds said doing something new makes a holiday memorable.

And larger numbers of those aged over 60 said the weather makes a trip unforgettable.

A quarter of those in their forties are keen on getting off the beaten track, nearly a fifth are interested in wine and cocktails and two in five prefer a city break, the research found.

More than a quarter (27%) of those in their fifties want to learn something new when holidaying and 30% favour cultural holidays the most.

Three in ten over 60 year olds want to meet interesting people when getting away and they are also the biggest advocates of multiple destination trips, group tours and cruises.

Parts of the V-Room stores nationwide have undergone a Virgin HoliDOs brand refresh, to highlight what people can do on holiday, with signage overhaul and staff training to “shift sales mindsets”.

This will be supported by digital and social content to be released over the coming weeks.

The new experiences, initially focused on North America, can be purchased in-store or via the call-centre, with half of them also bookable online.

The operator expects almost half of US holidays to have experiences sold as part of the booking by the end of the year.