Travellers are looking for luxury properties as five-star hotels outperform lower star ratings during the first nine months of the year, according to the latest Long Haul Trend Report by Hayes & Jarvis.

According to the operator, the increase in demand for five-star holidays has been driven largely by the value deals which have been available in the Dominican Republic, Mauritius and Mexico.

At the same time, holidaymakers are continuing to book later as they hunt for the best value, last minute holidays. Destinations showing great successes for the lates market include Vietnam, with late bookings up 140% compared to the same time last year. South Africa (with a 76% increase), Mauritius (up 24%) and Africa (up 16%) are also proving to be popular late booking destinations.

Sean Dowd, the company's head of commercial, said: “It’s clear that our customers are continuously looking for great value when booking. The Dominican Republic appears to be ticking all of the boxes this year in terms of price, service and quality. It is definitely an option after mid-haul destinations in terms of offering great value and its service levels have increased two fold in recent years with standards of quality now some of the best in the Caribbean. In the last month alone we have seen bookings to the destination up a staggering 119%, which shows the real potential it has.”

Following the trend earlier in the year, New York, Thailand and Las Vegas are still sitting as the top three destinations for the operator. However, the fastest growing destination by far has been Vietnam – which has ballooned 87%.
Dowd said: “Vietnam is that ‘next step’ for travellers looking to explore Asia, perhaps after visiting Thailand. The access to the country has opened up over the past year or so with direct flights from Gatwick to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with Vietnam Airlines, encouraging its popularity. It’s full of rich culture, outstanding beaches and beauty.”

The desire to see more in a single trip is also continuing to grow according to the report, with multi-centre bookings now accounting for more than a quarter of the company's business. The multi-centre options showing the strongest potential for this year are Africa’s beach/safari (up by 112%) and India tours (271% increase). Hawaii is also seeing growth as a multi-centre destination, with customers choosing to stop in a US city before heading across to the tropical islands.

Dowd said: “We have seen a 10% growth in our tailormade bookings since the beginning of the year with multi-centre trips accounting for more than 25% of our business. A growing number of travellers want to experience more than one city or destination in one trip – whether it’s beach and a safari or discovering hidden Asian gems– our customers are keen to explore.”

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