And other Verities of the UK Market: A new and expansive report by Thomas Cook which tells us that Orlando is the top long-haul destination for British travelers on vacation also details today’s five categories and seven ages of travelers, as well as a host of other details in between that help to make selling to the UK, which is still the number one overseas source market for inbound travel to the USA, at least a few percentage points easier.
One of the points that stand out—there are more than a few—is that more than a fifth of a key demo (the 25-to-34 year-old age group) don’t start planning and researching their holiday until three weeks out. Some of the more useful info bytes in the Thomas Cook Holiday Report 2017 follow.†
- The long-haul market continues to grow in popularity. Despite some fearing a ‘Trump slump’, bookings to the US are good and even compared to a particularly strong 2016, it is the fourth most popular destination with bookings up 10 percent for summer ‘17. Flight-only bookings to Boston have increased 116 percent year-on-year, while “La La Land” (Los Angeles) has seen a 33 percent increase.
- Parents are also doing their bit to boost long-haul destinations and they’re taking the kids to destinations you might not expect. Having travelled abroad with the kids since they were very little, they’re now happy to expand their horizons and travel further afield.
- Summer 2018 holidays launched in March; the sales to date show the same top four compared to summer 2017 sales this time last year. Bigger trips, like Orlando, take a lot of planning so it’s no surprise that holidaymakers want to get this booked early so they can save for theme park tickets.
Top Destinations for 2018
Note: The top four are the same top destinations for 2017.
- Although a proportion of holidaymakers without kids do book last minute, particularly the Independents, perhaps more than you think are planning ahead. In fact 37 percent of those with children left booking their main overseas holiday until a month or less before departure, compared with 23 percent of those without children. Do parents have less time to plan than their child-free peers?
- Planning a holiday is something families do together. 75 percent of parents ask for their children’s opinion when planning a holiday and 85 percent of kids suggest places they’d like to go.
- Timing is Everything I: January is still the peak month for holiday bookings – almost one in five of Thomas Cook’s package holidays are booked during the first month of the year. Not only does everyone want to get Christmas out of the way before thinking about their next trip away, but tour operators also respond with early booking offers and advertising. Are the deals driving the bookings?
- Timing is Everything II: Time spent searching for holidays slowly gives way to time spent actually booking them and transactions overtake searches around 5pm, before peaking between 8-10 pm. Is it a coincidence that this is the time when you are most likely to have a glass of wine in your hand?
Here are the seven ages of holiday that Thomas Cook thinks everyone is likely to take in their lifetime:
A Note on the Numbers: The majority of statistics in the Thomas Cook Holiday Report, unless stated otherwise, are based on UK tour operator and flight-only bookings up until May 2, 2017 and a survey of 2,635 UK customers in April and May 2017.