Number of Brits booking direct doubles in a decade

Number of Brits booking direct doubles in a decade

The number of British holidaymakers booking through hotel websites has almost doubled in a decade as they are lured by special offers for direct bookings and lower prices.

Almost two fifths (37%) plan to book their stays through hotel and accommodation provider websites this year, compared to 17% in 2007 and 30% five years ago.

This contrasts with international trends where travel agents online and on the high street are the most popular ways for holidaymakers to book their UK breaks – 52% and 22% respectively – the study by Barclays Corporate Banking found.

The findings are from a survey of British holiday booking trends and a Barclays Corporate Banking report, Destination UK: driving growth in the UK hospitality and leisure sector, which reveals the 2017 holiday and leisure preferences of almost 10,000 guests from the UK, continental Europe, the US, Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Britons are being drawn to direct bookings by discounts (62%), offers of special benefits (39%), and improvements to the actual booking experience (37%), the report finds.

Also effective in encouraging direct bookings is the provision of loyalty bonuses (27%) and access to price comparisons with nearby hotels (23%).

The number of people booking their trips online using their mobile phones has also doubled from the three per cent of all bookings made this way five years ago.

With six per cent of all UK holidaymakers planning to book their holidays online using by mobile phone this year, this equates to 2.4 million potentially planning their holidays while on the move.

The popularity of smart phone bookings is even more obvious among international travellers, with nearly one in ten (9%) planning to book their holidays this way. It is particularly popular for Chinese 17% Saudi Arabian holidaymakers (14%).

Conversely, those from the US are the international visitors most likely to welcome a human touch, with twice as many booking their holidays by conversation over the phone (8% versus 4%) or in person (15% versus 11%) compared to the averages seen for other global holidaymakers.

Airbnb is a popular option for international holidaymakers, with nearly a quarter (24%) considering this type of accommodation sharing option for UK breaks this year.

However, Britons still prefer hotels (49%) and less than one in ten (6%) plan to use an Airbnb for their staycations, with mid-market (25%) and budget (10%) hotels being more popular options.

Barclays Corporate Banking head of hospitality and leisure, Mike Saul, said: “Competition in the hospitality and leisure market is fierce and our results show that efforts by hoteliers to lure customers to book directly through their websites are paying off, with Brits now over twice as likely to book via this route than they were ten years ago.

“British hoteliers and self-accommodation providers should look to capitalise on this – and the increased trend for international guests to book their holidays using their mobile phones – by offering discounts and special benefits for direct bookers, and by ensuring their websites are mobile-optimised.”

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