Two thirds of holidays this summer booked wholly online

More than two out of three overseas bookings this summer were made online, exclusive research for Travel Weekly suggests.

A survey of 500 holidaymakers by Explore Research found 68% said they booked their main overseas holiday “wholly online”.

Just 11% said they booked wholly face to face with a travel agent, 10% did so online and by phone, and 4% wholly over the phone. The remaining bookings were split between phone and face to face; online and face to face; and a mix of all three. Two per cent of respondents were unclear.

Explore also asked what sort of booking people made. Two out of five (40%) said they booked a package holiday, 32% booked separate flights 
and accommodation from different sources, 
10% separate flights and accommodation from a single source (a Flight-Plus booking) and 11% flight‑only. A further 6% of bookings involved rail or ferry bookings and 1% were unclear.

The survey did not ask consumers what kind of company they made an online booking with and it assumed consumers could identify a package holiday.

John McEwan, chief executive of Advantage Travel Centres and chairman of Abta, said: “Online is the biggest single channel so the results are not a big surprise.

“There are major online travel retailers, and Tui Travel and Thomas Cook are taking a significant proportion of bookings online.”

However, he said 68% “does seem high”, adding: “At Advantage we see a lot of evidence of people instigating transactions online, then doing more on the phone. There is a mix in the middle.”

McEwan added: “Our research shows agents consistently around 28%-29% of the total holiday market.”

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