With the cold weather finally arriving, it comes as little surprise that Brits are dreaming of warmer climes. So much so that over half (54 per cent) of all Brits have started planning their main summer break, according to new research of 5,000 British adults from TravelSupermarket.
But the research has also revealed that when it comes to the annual getaway, just one in nine Brits (12 per cent) will be visiting a travel agent in person to research their 2012 holiday. This represents a big change from just a few years ago when the majority would hit the high street to visit the local travel agent for all our holiday needs.
Brits will instead be taking to their sofas and firing up their computers with over half (52 per cent) using internet search engines as their first port of call for holiday research. Forty per cent said they would be heading to review sites to get the opinions of other travellers and a 37 per cent said they would be visiting travel agents’ websites to plan their dream break.
The move to online is just as marked when it comes to holiday bookings. For the main 2012 holiday, 66 per cent of Brits said they will book through an online travel agent, an online tour operator or an online price comparison website. In contrast, 14 per cent of those surveyed said they would book over the telephone, but just 11 per cent said they will visit a travel agent to book in person.
An enormous 96 per cent of Brits say they are planning on taking a holiday this year with two to four weeks being the most common length of time spent researching (29 per cent). However a meticulous one in seven Brits (15 per cent) typically spend two to three months planning their main break each year - clearly leaving no stone unturned in their quest for the perfect holiday to look forward to.
Price also appears to be one of the leading factors encouraging Brits to hit the web so far in advance of their getaway. Forty per cent of all Brits have highlighted the overall cost as the number one consideration when it comes to their 2012 holiday, overtaking the usual ‘key holiday factors’ such as weather and accommodation which were highlighted by 32 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.
Spain is set to lead the way this year with 11 per cent of Brits already planning on heading there for their main break. This is followed by Italy (three per cent) and Portugal (two per cent) making up the top three most popular destinations for 2012.
Research revealed that beach holidays are still very much in favour with Brits and will be the most popular choice for breaks in 2012. Over a third of Brits (37 per cent) said they would be heading on a beachside break followed by city breaks (eight per cent) and camping staycations (eight per cent).
Bob Atkinson, travel expert from TravelSupermarket commented: “It’s no surprise to see that so many Brits spend weeks, if not months researching their holidays. Purse strings are tight for many in 2012 and with travel companies offering a huge array of deals to secure bookings, research is essential for holidaymakers to both make sure they get what they want from their holiday and also pay the best price.
“The switch to online for our holiday planning - whether to research or book - has been one of the most noticeable changes in travel over the last few years and appears to be continuing. The internet makes researching our holiday so much easier. Review sites are growing in popularity as holidaymakers trust the opinion of their peers, plus as Brits get savvier about finding the best price on their holidays they are using the internet to compare prices to get the best deal.
“My advice is to do as much research around your holiday as you can, including speaking to friends and family who have travelled. Use a comparison website such as TravelSupermarket to search for the best price but also to read reviews and resort information provided on the site. Comparing the market in one place will save you both time and money.
“And remember to check prices of both a packaged holiday and separate flights and accommodation to hunt out further savings.”