Flexible bookings are key to retaining confidence as resilient UK holidaymakers continue to make travel plans according to new research by Finn Partners

Leading travel marketing and communications firm, Finn Partners have commissioned a nationwide survey that reveals that 44% of British consumers are still happy to book a holiday if there is a great deal to be had in spite of the negative COVID-19 headlines sweeping the country. In fact, the survey of 1,000 Brits reveals as many as 61% confirm that publicity around COVID-19 will not stop them from making new holiday bookings. Importantly, 68% of respondents say they would happily book their holiday if they could change it at no extra cost and avoid losing money – making flexibility the key priority for the travel industry right now.

Less than one in five (17%) Brits say they wouldn’t book a holiday until they know more about how the situation develops or have any concern about travelling abroad and only 13% say they wouldn’t book a holiday in the next six months.

Debbie Flynn, managing partner, Finn Partners Travel commented:

“Whilst undoubtedly the situation is hitting the industry hard, our research tells us that Brits are unlikely to give up their holidays if the price is right. We know from the data that flexible bookings are absolutely critical to retaining consumer confidence. A key area of concern is losing money, whether that’s a ticket for an attraction, a flight or a package.”

Flynn added:

“We conducted this research because we wanted to fully understand the current mentality of the British consumer when considering their holiday plans. We are encouraged by the results which clearly show the resilience of the British traveller who is motivated to continue to travel encouraged by great deals and discounts. If travel brands offer unprecedented flexibility in what is usually a peak booking period, and the government isn’t advising against overseas travel, then we believe they will give themselves a fighting chance at encouraging bookings during these uncertain times.”

Julia Lo Bue Said, CEO of Advantage Travel Partnership, the largest travel agent and travel management company consortia which collectively generates £4.5bn in sales each year, commented:

“Timing of this research couldn’t be more perfect as we look ahead to the launch of our proactive #KeepCalmTravelOn social media campaign next week, which will encourage and demonstrate to the public that by following FCO advice you can still travel to the majority of destinations for both leisure and business.”

The data also revealed that the older generation is resolute when it comes to booking holidays. 70% of those over 60 are continuing to book despite the publicity, along with 68% of 45 – 59 year olds and 61% of 30 – 44 year olds. While it is the younger generation (aged 16 – 29) who are more hesitant to book as a result of what is being shared in the media at 53%.

Those from the Midlands and the North are the most determined not to let the news dampen their holiday booking habits, in particular, those from Leicester (74%) Manchester (71%) and Leeds (69%).