November 29, 2017 | AITO – Association of Independent Tour Operators
• 90% of holiday-makers say travel habits will stay same or grow over next three years
• Since Monarch, reported 30% increase in choosing a fully-bonded travel company
• 83% rate value and expertise over price when choosing a travel company
25th November, 2017
British holiday-makers are planning to maintain or grow their travel plans over the next three years, according to a recent survey by AITO, The Travel Specialists.
The AITO Travel Insights Report 2017, compiled in association with leading travel data insight agency SPIKE, has delved into the travel habits of members’ customers from the special interest market category. It found that, while 90% will maintain or grow their travel plans, 21% intend to take even more holidays, proving that customers aren’t deterred from holidaying abroad by economic pressures resulting from a looming Brexit, the threat of terrorism or the recent collapse of Monarch.
Some 45 companies participated in the research – a mix of AITO Tour Operators and AITO Agents – and 25,000 customers responded to the detailed survey, which was in the field during September and October 2017.
The survey results reveal that those aged from 55 to 64 are the group who plan to travel more, and they’re seeking a mix of experiences, with city visits coming top, followed by culture, arts and history, walking and then wildlife. Beaches are less interesting, coming eighth on this demographic’s list, and cruise holidays come 12th for them.
In terms of what is spent on a holiday, 29% of customers are spending between £2,000 and £4,999 per person (up 3% from last year). Top destinations are France, Italy and Greece, while our favourite long-haul trips are to Australia, India and the USA.
Some 90% say they will be holidaying the same amount or more in the next three years – almost exactly the same figure as last year, demonstrating that holidays aren’t viewed as a luxury activity, but are very much part of our yearly calendar.
On the issue of trust in holiday companies, 83% of people book with specialists because they value their knowledge and expertise and a further 47% choose a travel company based on personal service. Price isn’t too much of a factor and comes fifth in terms of reasons to book with a holiday company.
Looking ahead, the survey found that people are seeking holidays to regions including China, India, Australia, Russia and Iceland.
While 79% of responders said that email was the best way to contact them, the brochure is far from dead – 48% said that a brochure was the best way to keep them updated. Social media, however, isn’t persuading people to pack their bags, at only 9%. Just 1.3% welcome telephone calls from holiday companies. We live, however, in a multi-channel world, and 96% of people would be satisfied with a mix of email, direct mail and brochure.
AITO tracks the Monarch effect
After the Monarch collapse, being a fully bonded AITO member company was one of the most important factors in choosing which travel company to book with – a 30% increase.
The formula for success
90% say that their holiday habits over the next three years are either going to stay the same or grow, and 21% stated that they intended to take more holidays over the next three years. The growth is coming from the 55 to 64 age group, who seek a mix of experiences, with cities coming top followed by culture, arts and history, walking and wildlife.
Net Promotor Scores (NPS) for the specialist holiday market
The NPS score is 64.9 across all the participating companies in the survey, which is an impressive performance for any sector. But the average hides some very strong scores toward the top – eight AITO companies scored 80 and above in their NPS score, and one scored an extremely impressive 89, proving that customer experience created by specialist holiday companies is second to none.
What people really value from a holiday specialist
83% of people book based on knowledge and expertise, and 47% choose their travel company for personal service.
New interest opportunities
Destinations that people want to know more about included China, India, Australia, Russia and Iceland.
79% of responders prefer email contact, 48% like a brochure and just 9% like to be contacted via social media; a mere 1.3% like ‘phone contact. The majority – 96% of people – would be satisfied with a mix of email, direct mail and brochure.
Says Executive Director of AITO, Kate Kenward: “This research gives us a significant insight into the current needs of the consumer, and we think it will help shape the business decisions that AITO members formulate over the next few years. We will continue to refine the research we undertake annually to help our members grow and thrive.”
Chairman of AITO, Derek Moore, says: “The results of the survey will undoubtedly prove invaluable to our members and will help them to retain and increase their market share in a time of increasing uncertainty.
“In the wake of the Monarch collapse, it’s no surprise that trust in a travel company is more vital than ever and, as AITO is the travel specialists’ association, we hope that the survey’s findings will help ensure that members will continue to be ahead of the trends, not only maintaining the highest standards for their customers but also continuing to innovate.”