The number of UK online searches for holiday deals during the week of ‘Sunshine Saturday’ (January 1-7) fell by 14% year on year, according to new analysis.
The first Saturday after Christmas and New Year is dubbed ‘Sunshine Saturday’ by the travel trade as it is typically one of the most popular days of the year to book a foreign trip.
Research by payment technology provider BR-DGE showed that demand for holiday deals increased by 27% this weekend compared to the last weekend of December, but was down compared to Sunshine Saturday week in 2023 (January 2-8 2023).
The tech specialist said that the “discount culture” in the travel sector is “more spread out through the year”.
Jacob Spencer, BR-DGE commercial director, said: “The UK travel industry started the year on a high as demand jumped significantly in the first week of this year’s trading.
“UK consumers searched for holiday bargains among travel providers’ impressive discounts, with sun-seekers increasingly motivated by the wet weather delivered by Storm Henk last week.
“Despite this, consumer interest in holiday deals has dropped compared to last year’s event.
“In the last 90 days, demand actually hit its peak on Black Friday in November rather than on Sunshine Saturday.
“This suggests that consumer interest peaked earlier than normal this winter, reflecting an increasing number of travel providers starting their 2024 discount sales in the middle of November.
:It also demonstrates that Sunshine Saturday, while still important, is just one peak event among a series of discount and deal periods that drive consumer demand during the winter months.
“This changing trend is something that travel merchants need to cater for in their underlying processes, making sure that they capture customer interest and convert it into firm bookings.”