Understanding when international visitors initially start planning their holiday and considering a destination and what booking method they are most likely to use, can help you decide when and how to market your product.
Planning, decision-making and booking cycle of international leisure visitors to Britain
In spring 2016, VisitBritain commissioned new research in 20 markets to understand the holiday decision-making process.
Researching and Planning:
- Almost half (49%) of visitors to Britain started thinking about their trip more than 6 months in advance of taking it. A further 31% started thinking between 3 and 6 months in advance.
- More than 70% of visitors from our longest haul markets - Australia and New Zealand – started thinking about their trip more than 6 months in advance.
- When looking at responsibilities over the holiday planning process, ‘researching’ and ‘booking’ are more likely to be done by the individual, whereas shortlisting and finalising a destination are done in consultation with the travel companion.
- Globally, the biggest influence on destination choice is word of mouth, with talking to friends and family key for 40% of visitors and considerers.
- Britain’s cultural attractions remain the top reason to visit Britain, with 42% of visitors and 47% of considerers citing this as a key reason for visiting or considering visiting.
Read our full report on Researching and Planning (PDF, 1MB). Published March 2017.
- Half of visitors to Britain booked their travel and accommodation separately, and the other half booked as a package.
- With the exception of Australia and New Zealand, long-haul visitors were more likely to book their trip to Britain as a package, and European visitors were more likely to book their travel and accommodation separately.
- Almost two thirds (64%) of travel bookings took place directly with the provider, and 36% were with a third party.
- Just over half (53%) of accommodation bookings were made directly, and just under half were made via a third party agent or comparison site.
- The majority (62%) of holiday bookings were made via a travel agent, operator or comparison site. Whilst two thirds of these bookings were made online, over a quarter were still booked face to face.
- Online travel agencies are used often, with the main motivation being to compare prices (71%), and finding something within budget (67%).
- The products that are most often purchased before travelling to Britain are airport transfers (36%) and tickets for tourist attractions (31%) and theatre/musical/concerts (30%).
Read our full report on Booking a holiday (PDF, 988KB). Published April 2017.
Technology and Social Media:
- The most popular use for social media is to access news (53%), followed by uploading photos or videos (47%).
- Over two thirds (69%) agree that they like to stay connected when on holiday. Three quarters agree that their smartphone is essential when they travel, and 56% say the same for their tablets.
- The majority of international travellers (61%) have shared photos of a holiday online, and 42% have done the same for video.
- Whilst on holiday, social media is most often used to keep in touch with home, followed by posting or uploading photos.
- Whilst many are happy to use their smartphones abroad, an overwhelming proportion (83%) still wish that it was cheaper.