09 Oct 2018

Brits booking more trips direct, less on the mobile

UK consumers are making fewer travel bookings using smartphones than a year ago, according to new research from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).

Smartphone bookings fell sharply from 20% to 12% year-on-year.

Tablet bookings were also off, down from 23% to 20%.

Overall the study revealed that 81% of consumers had booked a holiday online this year – down from a figure of 83% in 2017. Bookings on the phone to  a call centre, or those made at a traditional travel agency, were both used by 15% of holidaymakers (down slightly on last year’s figures of 16% and 17% respectively).

Using a desktop or laptop to make the purchase remains easily the most popular option, with 86% of UK consumers using this device, a slight increase from 2017’s figure of 85%.

ABTA said these figures showed the shift towards online bookings had now “stabilised” in the UK market.

Booking through an online travel agency (OTA) was used by 48% of UK consumers for domestic holidays and 41% for overseas trips, while booking through a home-sharing platform (such as Airbnb) or owners’ letting website accounted for 12% of domestic bookings and 11% of international holidays.

Completing a booking directly with an airline or hotel accounted for 46% of domestic and 47% of overseas holidays (up from 43% last year).

ABTA’s survey also found that people aged over 65 were the most likely to book an overseas holiday with a travel company or agent (45%). While those aged 25-34 and over 75 were most likely to book a UK break through a travel professional (26%).

More than one-third of respondents (36%) said they had booked a holiday with a travel professional in the past year with the main reasons being ease of booking, saving time and feeling “more confident” about the transaction.

The overwhelming majority of people (93%) who spoke to a travel professional went on to book with their company, with 30% of these bookings being completed online.

The study found that people over the age of 65 were most likely to book on the phone (26%) while families booked the most holidays in person at an agency (22%).

Trust in reviews sites also fell significantly for those aged 25-34 – falling by 14 percentage points to just 39% for this age group since last year’s survey.

Click here to read the press release which has a link to the full report.

Related reading from tnooz:

Contrary Brits want to see personalised offers without sharing data (Sept 2018)

UK airline pax less satisfied, despite better search and booking processes (August 2018)


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