Nearly half of consumers reject planning in favour of return to old destination

Almost 40% of holidaymakers did not spend much time planning their last holiday because they had been to the destination before, while just under a third visited their travel agent to plan their break.

According to exclusive statistics from market research body Key Note in its Market Assessment 2009 report the travel industry is now dealing with more sophisticated and experienced holidaymakers.

In total 37.4% – the highest response of a weighted sample of 1.001 adults carried out by NEMS Market Research in February this year for Key Note – said not much planning had been involved in their last holiday.

Interestingly, using a traditional method of planning – a holiday brochure – came second, at 36.8% of respondents. The report added: “Brochure usage applies mainly to the foreign holiday market, where consumers need more advanced information than when organising a self-drive domestic holiday.”

Both results came higher than the internet, which in recent years has topped polls as the most popular way of planning a holiday.

The use of an airline website was a close third, at 36.5%, followed by a recommendation by a friend or relative (33.6%), and using a hotel website (31%).

In comparison, fewer holidaymakers – 28.4% – visited a travel agency to plan their holiday, and almost as many, 24.2%, used a travel agent’s website. The lowest score for planning a holiday was using Teletext or other TV information at 11.4%.

The results contrast with last year’s figures from the Target Group Index on sources of information for holidays in 2006, 2007 and 2008, which showed the web to be the highest source of information while having been to the destination before came third.

The TGI survey showed that in 2008, 24.9% used the internet to plan a holiday in the last 12 months, up from 16.1% in 2006; 10.1% had been to the destination before compared to 9.9% in 2006; 8.6% went to a travel agency compared to 11.4% in 2006; and 6.8% used a traditional holiday brochure compared to 8.5% in 2006.

A Key Note survey by NEMS Market Research conducted in December 2008 also put use of the internet to research holidays near the top of all web activities – 55.7% of a weighted sample of 1.004 adults went online to research and book travel, which was second only to comparing prices before buying something, at 60.4%.

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