Lowcost Holidays reports post-Christmas surge

Traffic to Lowcost Holidays’ international websites surged by more than 50% from Boxing Day onwards, the online travel agent has claimed.

Bad winter weather and new TV advertising has contributed to a surge in interest in sunshine holidays, the Majorca-based company said.

The figures come after the agent was embroiled in a bitter row with UK regulator the CAA before Christmas after its move to base itself in Palma and operate under Spanish laws.

The CAA announced it had started an investigation into the level of financial protection Lowcost now offers to its customers, suggesting it was not as good as the level the UK’s Atol scheme provides.

However, the CAA’s warning about the level of financial protection Lowcost now provides appears not to have put off potential customers visiting its websites during the traditional post-Christmas peak, according to figures released today.

Lowcost said visits to the websites from tablet and mobile devices increased across all markets, with traffic from iPads up 26% year on year and an overall 54% increase in searches over the past week.

Last summer’s heatwave in the UK led many people to postpone holiday plans and Lowcost claims this has led to increased demand for late winter sun breaks with bookings up by more than 30% year on year and searches for late holidays up 330% compared to last year, according to the company.

Top holiday searches on the UK site are for summer holidays to Majorca, Tenerife and Egypt.

Chief marketing officer Alex Gisbert said: “We launched TV adverts across the UK and Ireland on Boxing Day and have seen immediate results from this campaign with more customers heading online to search for sunshine holidays.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt that Northern Europe and the USA are seeing bad weather and we know from the past that drives more people to browse online.”

The growth in bookings and searches across the group includes new markets for Lowcost Holidays, with recently launched US and Australian websites now operational in Atlanta and Sydney.

All four Scandinavian markets have started strongly with traffic up by more than 60%. The Canary Islands is the top searched-for destination, followed by Greece and Turkey.

Malta and Egypt are also popular, as well as traditional holiday destinations such as Majorca and the Algarve.

A new TV campaign in Ireland has increased demand, with the Balearics, Portugal and city breaks topping the searches.

In the US, Lowcost Holidays predicts that growth areas for 2014 will be Florida and Mexico, as well as continued demand for Las Vegas, California and New York.

There is strong in demand in Australia for Bali, the South Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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