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ABTA 2009: Holidaymakers ‘buy clever’ during recession, reports PwC

Consumers are spending more time finding the right holiday deal as they attempt to “buy clever” during the recession, research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reveals.

A recent poll of at least 1,000 consumers by PwC, unveiled at The Travel Convention in Barcelona, has revealed half of consumers now spend more time looking for the right holiday than before the recession, while about 40% use the internet.

The research also showed 35% now only book special offers. More than 30% of those polled are taking fewer holidays, and more than a third stayed in the UK this summer. A similar percentage traded down in terms of flight options.

Head of travel Malcolm Preston said: “UK holidaymakers are evolving through the recession into price-savvy consumers. They invest more time finding the best deal.

“Affluence drove speed of booking prior to the downturn. However, as discretionary spend is squeezed, there is no longer a race to reserve, and the competition now lies in getting the most bang for your buck.”

A similar poll by PwC in April last year showed that an annual holiday was a spending priority. Since then, holidaymakers have chosen to take domestic trips or go outside of the eurozone. “This new breed of traveller now values price over convenience and recognised or previously favoured brands,” added Preston.

PwC predicted that in the long-term holidaymakers would priotise promotions and the internet as a way of finding the best deal, spending more time checking prices, buying cheaper flights, and using flexible packages. Short-term responses include staying in the UK, choosing cheaper accommodation and spending less while on holiday.

Preston added: “Travel companies must reduce the selling cost of the holiday by pricing each element of the package according to how the consumer values it.”

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