Price dominated the thinking of holidaymakers going into the peak summer season, according to exclusive research for Travel Weekly.
A survey of more than 2,000 UK adults found more than half identified price as their main consideration when choosing a summer 2010 holiday – ahead of destination, the weather in resort, accommodation or trip dates.
Asked to give up to three factors that governed their choice, just 8% identified financial security as a consideration compared with 52% who said price (see chart, page 68).
The findings fit concerns expressed following the recent collapses of Sun4U and Kiss Flights that cheap sales are stoking failures among a section of the trade.
The Co-operative Travel managing director Mike Greenacre argued: “There is a price people have to pay to go on holiday”.
Latest market data on sales suggests prices for the summer are holding up, with industry analyst GfK Ascent reporting an average selling price in the week to August 14 just £2 below the average for the season to date, and £41 up on the same week a year ago.
GfK Ascent collates sales data across the high street, call centres and online.
However, average online prices look rather different when examined separately. Latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index suggested the total value of online travel sales in July was 18% up on July 2009 and 32% up on June 2009 this year. But this masked a fall of more than £120 in the value of the average “basket” – or holiday price – between July 2009 and 2010.
IMRG Capgemini calculated the average basket value this July as £701.43 compared with £822.11 a year ago. It recorded a similar decline year on year in June. The online basket value has fallen by an increasing amount year on year in each month since April – the difference almost trebling over that time.
The research company compiles its index from more than 100 online brands, including retailers of ancillaries such as airport parking. These include some of the trade’s biggest names, such as Tui Travel, The Co-operative Travel and lastminute.com, whose sales also form part of the GfK Ascent data.
But IMRG Capgemini noted that retailers with both a high street and online presence saw more than double the average month-on-month growth of online-only retailers in July – suggesting it’s not the big names slashing prices.
When TNS asked consumers whether they would spend more or less on their main holiday this year, almost a quarter (23%) said they would spend more and 19% less.
The big difference was among younger travellers, with 36% of those aged under 24 and 22% aged 25-34 planning to spend less.
Which factors determine your choice of holiday?
- Overall price 52%
- Choice of destination 38%
- Weather in destination 38%
- Quality of accommodation 36%
- Type of accommodation 31%
- Choice of resort/location 21%
- Dates of trip 17%
- Financial security 8%
- Activities 7%
- Don’t know 8%
Respondents could name up to three choices.
Source: TNS researchers interviewed 2,045 UK adults on June 18-22 as part of the TNS Omnibus survey