Summer 2010 holiday sales had a lot to contend with this year with considerable uncertainty in the stability of the travel industry. Travel companies have noticed significant drops in consumer confidence this summer with a series of highly publicised events causing concern in the industry. This resulted in the leading UK travel companies, Thomas Cook and online holiday company lowcostholidays.com making obvious attempts to address any uncertainty by displaying messages of reassurance with words like ‘protected’ and ‘guaranteed’ being used this summer across their websites and throughout various advertising campaigns.
The collapse of Kiss Flights in particular on the 17th August is seen to have played a huge part in the drop of demand for the late summer 2010 holidays in spite of some competitive deals. However, Matt Hall, Head of Product at lowcostholidays.com has stated that “October Half Term holidays are up 70% year on year and October holidays in general are up 90%”. This large increase has been taken up by families who have chosen to wait until the school holidays have passed, allowing them to take advantage of the low off-season holiday prices. While initial data on family holiday bookings for summer 2010 would look average at first glance, closer examination shows that families are still spending money on holidays abroad. They are just being more budget savvy in their choice of when and where they wish to go. Google searches for the term, ‘half term breaks’ was up 50% year on year further highlighting the growth in holiday makers opting to take their traditional summer holidays in mid-autumn instead.
Hoteliers and airlines are aiding this October half term growth by slashing their margins in order to generate a longer period of demand for holidays. Top holiday destinations for October and further into the winter months are currently Turkey, Egypt and the Canary Islands and this trend is expected to continue into 2011. Families can save up to £100 per person from the range of cheap October half term holidays on offer. With families being the most conservative spending demographic, year on year growth in off season holiday bookings is forecast to continue.