Research for a new consumer report - the Holiday Confidence Index – has revealed that consumers are now feeling less negative about planning trips abroad in the coming 12 months as their confidence about the economy and personal financial circumstances grows.
According to the Winter 2013 report, the number of people who believe the economy will improve has doubled within the space of six months and two-in-five surveyed for the tracker report who said they were planning to travel abroad have already booked their first holiday.
Created by First Rate Exchange Services (www.firstrate.co.uk), the Holiday Confidence Index monitors the consumer appetite for overseas holidays. Produced in partnership with the Institute of Travel & Tourism, University of Wolverhampton and YouGov, the tracker research will be published three times a year.
The first online survey of more than 5,000 adults aged 18 and above provides information about holiday intentions, holiday frequency and duration, and covers spending plans for September 2013 to August 2014.
The survey findings were used to create the Winter 2013 report which has been calculated by compiling a composite index of six key elements of intention about overseas holidays. This is the same overall confidence rating as in March when an initial benchmark survey was conducted for comparison purposes.
However, there have been positive gains for five of the six individual indices – relating to the number of holidays planned, their duration and associated expenditure – all of which points to increasing stability and an improving picture for the next 12 months. The common denominator across the survey results was that negative intentions about travelling overseas have fallen. More than half of consumers intend to holiday abroad in the coming year and more than half of these also intend to take more than one trip abroad.
More encouragingly, although 39% of first holidays booked were late getaways for departure by November 2013, one-in-five (20%) were summer bookings for June-August 2014, suggesting a return to planning holidays well ahead.
Furthermore, almost a third of second holidays (31%) had been booked for travel between June and August 2014. When it comes to the number of holidays planned, the outlook also looks promising. Fewer than half of the survey respondents (44%) intend to restrict themselves to one holiday abroad in the next year while over one-in-five (22%) propose to take three or more holidays.
Many survey respondents expressed caution about holiday expenditure with more than half the survey sample planning to restrict spending to the same level as in the previous 12 months. However, there is good news for travel agents as consumers who book packages and all-inclusive holidays are more likely to book via a travel agency. More than two-in-five of consumers who are planning only one holiday in the coming year are like to book some form of package – including all-inclusive and cruise trips. Half of all planned packages will be purchased from two major players, who between them have a total market share of 28%, according to the survey results.
The most positive responses about holiday intentions came from 18-24 year-olds and from older consumers (55+). Almost a third of the 55+ age group said they are planning more trips abroad and this also applied to 18-24 year-olds, who are significantly more likely to take shorter holidays of either one- to three-nights or four- to six-nights and are more flexible about the type of holidays they will take. Almost half of this group claim to cut spending in other areas to ensure they can fund a trip abroad.
Going abroad on holiday is important to the lifestyle of almost two-thirds (64%) of those planning trips in the coming year. For the majority of them the overriding priority is that their trip should be ATOL protected, suggesting an awareness of the issues surrounding holiday security.
Almost half (47%) felt strongly about this and overall nearly three-quarters (74%) were concerned about safeguarding their holiday.
The Winter 2013 report can be obtained by emailing HolidayConfidenceIndex@firstrate.co.uk