AITO has shared key findings from its consumer research project; AITO Travel Insights 2016.

Compiled in association with data insight specialist Spike Marketing, 40 AITO companies participated in the research emailing the survey to their client databases in September. More than 18,000 surveys were completed and returned.

Kate Kenward, executive director for the association, said: “As last year’s survey proved to be so invaluable to members, we decided to provide the service again and we will continue to do so annually. As special interest operators, our members need to understand their customers’ travel requirements as fully as they can to enable them to tailor their holiday programmes even better. This survey is crafted carefully to capture customers’ key travel considerations, intentions and buying habits, as well as their holiday preferences and important decision trigger points.”

Respondents were primarily aged over-55 (62%) - a sector which is believed to increase over the next few years due to pension pot flexibility. It was noted that in comparison to last year there has been a small decrease of 2.8% in the number of people saying they will spend more on their holidays in the next 12 months, perhaps attributable to Brexit, however more respondents were willing to spend the same amount. From the survey 47% spend more than £1,500 per head and 15.5% spend more than £3,000.

In terms of their travel intentions, 93% of respondents plan to take at least one short break in the UK next year and 85% are going to take at least one short break abroad. 77% also cited a desire to take at least one longer break of six nights or more abroad (with almost 40% saying they will take two and almost 30% saying will take three).

When asked if they had any special interests or hobbies that they like to spend time pursuing whilst on holiday city beaks and trips with a strong focus on culture, arts and history were voted for the most at 65.4 and 61.6% respectively. Walking breaks also received a strong response at 56.9%.

When asked if there was a special interest that wasn’t adequately catered for by travel organisers, the top hobby mentioned – for the second year running – was photography, followed by cycling and then fishing.

When it comes to the most important sources of information available to consumers to help them decide on a particular holiday, browsing travel websites was still top at 42%, but 10% less important compared to last year. In contrast advice from agents and travel companies saw a small increase.

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