74% planning a winter break but late booking continues

Nearly three quarters of people are planning a winter break but many will leave it late to book, according to a new study.

The numbers planning to get away between this month and March 2012 has risen to 74% from 68% last winter.

But more than 70% of those planning winter trips have yet to book, meaning that tour operators and agents still have a lot to play for, according to online travel deals firm Travelzoo which conducted the research.

UK travel and short-haul packages are the top choice with 44% of those polled. Ten per cent plan a long-haul package, 7% intend taking a cruise, while 10% will book a flight-only.

Seventy per cent of Travelzoo subscribers plan to spend over £200 per person on their winter short break while more than half of respondents said they would spend over £500 per person on six nights or more away.

The company warned that consumers are on the look-out for better deals than ever before, with 45% saying they would only book their holiday in advance if they saw a deal they just couldn’t refuse.

Other key reasons cited for booking holidays in advance included booking early to coincide with the school holidays (8%) and because consumers knew exactly what they were looking for (28%).

The survey also highlighted a “real shift” in how people wish to spend their Christmas with 70% saying they would be happy to travel over the festive period, compared to just 30% who say they would never wish to leave the UK at this time.

Of those happy to travel over the festive period, 27% would travel on Christmas Day if it meant bagging an amazing travel deal. A further 22% would be happy to fly on Christmas Day irrespective of how great the offer was and 18% would travel during the festive period, but not on Christmas Day itself.

The survey of almost 2,000 Travelzoo subscribers also revealed that one third of people would be happy to spend Christmas overseas, as long as they were with their family or friends.

Travelzoo UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo said: “It is clear that, while people continue to watch their pennies, holidays are still high on the agenda, with 74% of our UK audience of 2.8 million planning a winter break.

“People are keener than ever to travel this winter, but tellingly over 70% have not yet booked their winter break, indicating that tour operators and agents will need to convince consumers to book with added value and eye-catching deals.”

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