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Booking intentions ‘stronger’ despite economic squeeze

Consumer intentions to book holidays abroad have strengthened despite heightened concern about the cost of living, according to the latest research.

A Kantar TGI survey in April found 16% of UK adults have already booked their main summer holiday this year and 20% plan to book – of whom 78% plan to go abroad – despite three quarters being “worried about the rising price of life” (77%) and repercussions of the war in Ukraine (75%), and 41% being unable to afford their energy bills.

Kantar found the desire to holiday abroad increased markedly in recent months, rising from 28% agreeing “I’m desperate to book a holiday abroad” last September to 36% in January and 42% in February. By contrast, those intending to holiday in the UK has settled at about two in five since September.

Almost three-quarters of those intending to holiday abroad (72%) expect to spend at least a “moderate” amount more than previously and one in five (19%) “a lot of money”.

Crucially, holiday spending topped that in all other non-essential categories with 12% of adults planning to “spend a lot” on holidays compared with 4% on new phones, 3% on cars and 2% on clothes.

However, almost two thirds remain “uncertain” about booking, one in five (21%) because of their income but half (49%) due to travel restrictions.

Charlie Gordon, insight director at Kantar, hailed the findings as “really encouraging signs of resilience” in the sector, noting: “We’ve got over two fifths of people desperate [to holiday abroad].”

He suggested the high rate of uncertainty “isn’t surprising given people are generally booking one to three months in advance. We’re well in range for a big summer season”.

Gordon added: “It’s striking how much economic concerns are affecting people. We’ve got three quarters worried about ‘the rising price of life’. There is no situation like it in modern memory. But that hasn’t dimmed enthusiasm for holidays. One fifth of people going abroad say ‘I’m going to spend a lot’. If we hadn’t had the two years we have, we might be seeing economic concerns strike people more. People are chomping at the bit.”

The Kantar TGI survey is based a sample of 24,000 UK adults.

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