Cheapflights, a pioneer and international leader in independent flights price comparison has confirmed that fluctuating currency exchange rates are significantly changing traveller behaviour.
In a Cheapflights study of popular destinations for travellers during October and November, popular destinations have reversed trend compared to earlier this year.
US and UK
The Pound’s recent dramatic fall against the Dollar has turned the tables on cross Atlantic travel.
Searches from the US to London and Manchester are up significantly, while searches from the UK to New York and Orlando have dropped.
Year On Year US searches October + November 2008
US to London – Up 23%
US to Manchester – Up 18.25%
Year on Year UK searches October and November 2008
UK London to New York – Down 21%
UK London to Orlando – Down 21%
With Sterling dropping sharply by 25%, from two US Dollars to the pound a year ago to just $1.53 currently, it is no surprise that UK searches for flights to the US are down whilst US searches for the UK are up. The four destinations above are the most popular with consumers searching for great deals on Cheapflights’ respective UK and US sites.
In the UK, due to the strength of Sterling last year, Orlando particularly benefitted as a holiday destination from the UK. At the same time on Cheapflights’ US site, London dropped out of sight, normally one of the few foreign cities in the US site’s top twenty destinations searched for by US viewers.
As already reported by Cheapflights this year, Euro zone destinations from the UK are being adversely affected by the Euro’s strength which has increased 13% against Sterling versus last year. The trend has been for Euro zone destinations to lose popularity with Cheapflights’ viewers.
Whilst Brits’ perennial favourite holiday destinations are managing to remain in the top twenty rankings, their search traffic has dropped relative to last year over the same period.
Year on Year UK Searches – October and November 2008
UK to Tenerife – Down 13.5%
UK to Malaga – Down 18.4%
Continuing an earlier trend, searches for non-Euro long and medium haul destinations, where the cost of living, climate and exchange rate offer the best value for hard-earned money, are up.
These are continuing to enjoy double digit percentages in growth. As a result these destinations have been gradually climbing into Cheapflights’ top twenty UK destinations for some time now.
In particular over October and November this year, Dubai has benefitted from advertising and media coverage about the launch of the new luxury Atlantis hotel on Dubai’s extraordinary man-made Palm Island.
Year on Year Searches – October and November 2008
UK to Bangkok – Up 11.1%
UK to Dubai – Up 28.8%
Cheapflights chief executive Chris Cuddy commented: “What a difference a year makes! Last year it was Sale Time for Brits visiting the US and now the trend has reversed. Americans are returning to the UK and have promoted London once again to a top 10 searched destination. Travelers on both sides of the Atlantic are reflecting their price sensitivity like never before and welcoming the great deals on flights this season.”
He added: “Since airlines have been given a breathing space on fuel prices and have rationalised routes and cut back on costs there are literally millions of great deals out there.
“The trick is to be flexible about when you fly, not only the date but time of day and consider an alternative regional airport – which often have the best deals. If you can’t, make sure you book well in advance and of course search the internet!”