Online retailer lastminute.com predicts UK holidaymakers will be more price-focused this year but will still take a holiday.


As well as a shift to non-euro destinations because of the worsening exchange rate of the pound with the euro, the agency expects holiday durations to get shorter and anticipates a shift to more competitively priced hotel accommodation.


During 2008 lastminute.com saw a 21% increase in sales of all-inclusive holidays as consumers looked to budget for their holidays and as a result the retailer has increased its all-inclusive product range for 2009.


It predicts rising sales for non-euro destinations such as Tunisia, which saw a sales increase of 71% with the retailer in 2008, Turkey, Egypt, the Czech Republic and the UK. Destinations where the pound remains strong, such as Bulgaria and South Africa, are also expected to fare well this year.


Lastminute.com says it is already witnessing a shift from 14 day holidays to ten days and anticipates seven-night pacakges to be the quickest to sell out during 2009. During 2008 it reported a reduction in holiday durations of around two days.


The retailer has also reported a move away from five-star hotels to three-star properties in luxury destinations such as Dubai, but warned that while consumers are increasingly price-driven, they do not want to cut down significantly on hotel quality. Sales of UK hotels were strong in 2008, with Liverpool bookings up 100% year on year for the retailer, Scottish hotels up on average 42% and Northern Ireland up 48%.


Travel sales director Andy Washington claims Brits will look at ways to cut corners and make their pounds go further when on holiday as a result of the economic downturn but will not sacrifice their holidays. “Our customers are determined to keep on holidaying but they will watch their pennies and make sure they do not break the bank when away. Destinations where the pound is still strong, all-inclusive holidays and the UK are all great cost-saving options,” he said.