Gone are the days of package holidays, all-inclusive buffets and two weeks frying on the beach. In the second decade of the 21st century, travellers are becoming more discerning, more adventurous and more imaginative. However, many also want to remain connected to the internet at all times. Digital detoxing is not the norm.
A survey of 2,000 people by currency exchange service Travelex earlier in January revealed that just 15 per cent of British holidaymakers plan to take a package holiday in 2016, while 85 per cent want a more adventurous experience.
They are content to plan for three to six months, and save for big trips that take them off the beaten track. The research showed that the average person will spend £941 on their main holiday this year. Two thirds (62 per cent) said they expect to take one to two holidays in 2016.
A statement from Travelex said: “Travellers, today, who are enjoying greater economic prosperity than five years ago, seem to prefer to take control of their time off and enjoy the freedom of organising their own adventures.” By 2116, more than half of respondents believed holidays on the Moon would be possible.
Elvin Eldic, head of retail for Travelex UK, said: “How we holiday has evolved so much over time – from the day trips to seaside towns by train to now spending up to half a year planning the worldwide trip of a lifetime.
“Our ambitions now are to visit the far and wide, which changes our expectations of what we want to get out of our time away. Today, we want to plan our own routes cross countries as well as in and around cities, making the very most of our holidays and exploring what the world has to offer.”
Meanwhile, outdoor advertising company Exterion Media has found that younger people are leaning towards city breaks. Over the last year, 57 per cent of 16- to 34-year-olds have taken a last-minute trip to a city in the last year, with 55 per cent researching it on their smartphone first. One in six then booked it on their mobile.
Exterion Media’s category director for travel, transport and tourism, Laura Botton, said: “Mobile is continuing to have an impact on how urbanites research and book their trips away. Our research shows that mobile is having an effect on how people are researching and booking their holidays – with access to the internet and apps that are available wherever they are. This is demonstrated by the fact that twice as many young [London] Tube users booked their holiday on their phone last year as in 2014.”
She adds: “For younger, digitally-savvy consumers, who are perhaps more frequently connected, there’s no shortage of inspiration with a plethora of travel research entry points available. From the survey we found that four in five young Tube users use search engines or travel review sites – 81 per cent and 82 per cent respectively – to research their holidays. Image-based social media sites such as Instagram also provided inspiration, with one in five telling us it was a factor in their holiday research.”
When choosing a hotel, three quarters of this youthful, wired generation said wifi was essential – in fact 40 per cent said it was more important than air conditioning, while about a third said it was more of a priority than room size or a TV.
Botton sees the value proposition in this: “From a marketing perspective, it is apparent that this digital-savvy generation places great value on exploring the world. We believe that effectively utilising opportunities for prominent, travel-related Out-of-Home advertising campaigns that point consumers toward the digital channels, where they can find more information and take advantage of special offers, is an effective way of powering this continual appetite for adventure.”