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UK travel consumer increasingly technology savvy

10 May 2012

  • Affordability of long-haul travel affecting choice of holiday destination;
  • 86% of overseas and 91% of domestic travel transactions are now digitally influenced.

Speaking at the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Travel Matters Conference in London today, Graham Pickett, head of travel, hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “The digital age has enabled consumers to broaden their horizons in their choice of holiday destination.  However, increasing numbers are deciding to stay at home for their holidays this year.  The rising cost of air passenger duty (APD), a weak pound and with disposable income remaining tight, the affordability of long-haul travel is affecting consumers’ choice of overseas travel.  Though consumers are displaying restraint in their spending on big ticket items, research indicates 20% still plan to purchase a holiday in the next three months1.

“Consumers are also waiting longer to book their trip in the hope of benefiting from a discount.  A 60% increase in last minute hotel queries year-on-year in 20112 has dramatically shortened the booking window.  This has created the need for tour operators and travel agents to be smarter with the timings of their marketing activity.”

Social media and review sites have an increasingly powerful role in the holiday destination decision-making process.  86% of overseas and 91% of domestic travel transactions are now digitally influenced.3  ‘Digitally influenced’ includes direct online sales or multichannel transactions where consumers interact with travel agents, hotels or airlines across a number of touch points, including stores, online, social media, peer reviews and smartphone or tablet apps.

15% of UK travellers going abroad use online travel agents’ websites as part of their research before purchasing.  13% use package holiday websites, and 13% price comparison websites.  By contrast, 12% of those researching for domestic travel went directly to a hotel website, 9% used hotel room price comparison websites and 9% browsed a catalogue or brochure.3   

Pickett commented: “The digital age has made a dramatic mark on travel purchases.  Consumers have embraced digital media and are increasingly confident about interacting and making purchases online.  They are turning to their peers or online communities for advice and to share information and opinions.  Furthermore, the current economic uncertainty is accelerating the rate at which consumers are adopting digital behaviours as they rebalance their spending and turn to digital solutions to seek out savings and value.”


Notes to Editors:
1 The Deloitte Consumer Review Q1 2012
2 Google Query Trends 2012
3 The Deloitte Consumer Review Q3 2011

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Media contacts

Celine Gordine-Wright
Deloitte LLP
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