Extension of peak holiday season into autumn expected

More UK travellers are looking at holidays in September, October and November than in 2019, with delayed demand lengthening the summer peak  season, new research reveals.

More than a third (39%)  of people polled by Skyscanner said they were planning a trip of more than 14 days in length so they can enjoy an extended  holiday.

And 32% said that they were planning around safety, with the destination that seemed the safest being their top choice.

Key trends for UK travellers include:

  • Confidence and optimism returning to plan trips further ahead
  • A prioritisation of value over price
  • ‘Second’ city destinations and islands increasing in popularity

They are also spending less, with the average fare purchased coming in at  13% less than it did pre-pandemic, a result of lower fares and competitive deals.

However, UK travellers  are choosing to “upgrade” their travel, suggesting they are selecting fares with added extras such as flexibility or  a higher  Covid  safety  score, according to the study.

When asked  which  factors would make them pay for a more expensive flight over a cheaper one, 29% said they would pay more for flexible  travel  and 26% said they wanted to upgrade their fare.

The average booking horizon for UK travellers looking for travel is 113 days, much closer to pre-pandemic  norms  than 2020, suggesting increasing  confidence  to commit to future travel.

The most popular summer months for UK travellers are July and August, in line with school holidays and hotter  weather.

Skyscanner flights vice president Hugh Aitken said:  “With international travel once again on the horizon, we have looked at how, when and where it is likely to return  ahead of the peak travel season.

“Our analysis reveals   travellers’ preferences  are changing compared  to pre-pandemic and  we have  identified  eight global trends that  offer a snapshot of today’s travel landscape  that  will influence the sector  in 2021.

“That  said, there are still many pieces of the puzzle needed to  ful y  restore traveller confidence and  truly  unlock  underlying demand.

“As we have seen in the  past,  travellers are adept at adjusting to new  measures,  however,  we are entering a period where the  importance of clear, straightforward and timely information  is vital, especially relating to  restrictions,  quarantines and testing  requirements.”

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