For some people the joys of booking their next dream holiday is more of a nightmare; filtering through reviews, competitors, endless websites filled with glossy images and ‘5 star testimonials’ in the vain hope of securing the best value deals. But what if your time could be better spent elsewhere?
FHR have set out to quantify just how much money you’re likely to save from doing your homework online versus using a travel agent. We then split up the figures to take a look at how much the respondents were saving related to the overall cost of their holiday.
|Holiday Cost||Amount Saved||Holiday Cost||Time Spent|
|More than £2500||£237.10||More than £2500||10.69|
We found a general relationship between the cost of your holiday and how much you’re likely to save per hour of research.
People booking a holiday of up to £200 spend an average of 3.5 hours researching their holiday and achieve a saving of just under £30. This means consumers save around £8.30 for every hour spent researching, more than the minimum wage but below the average wage.
When booking more expensive holidays people tend to save more money through their research. At the top end of the scale people spend over 10 hours researching their holidays but make an average saving of nearly £240, giving a saving in excess of £22 per hour.
Is Your Research Time an Investment or an Expense?
It all boils down to how you value your time. If your hourly wage is higher than your savings per hour, the rational action would be to let a travel agency take the work off your hands, while you spend the time earning more at work. If, however, you are saving more per hour than you are earning at work it is prudent to take the time to carry out your own research and book independently of an agency.
Calculating Your Target Savings
Use this simple formula to identify how much money you need to save to justify your research time:
(Your Hourly Wage) x (Number of Research Hours) = Minimum Saving on Holiday
When you know that you saved money and wasted no time, your holiday is sure to feel that little bit more satisfying!
Of course, saving money isn’t the only reason that people research and book their holiday online. When asked why people book holidays online, the most popular response was that it’s ‘easier’(46%) than booking using other methods. People also claimed that booking online was ‘quicker’ (43%), ‘less stressful’ (16%) and gave them ‘more flexibility ’(28%).
Cutting out the middle man is easier than ever; with even the smallest of travel businesses having online and social presence for consumers to contact and liaise with directly. On the other side of the coin; consumers also have increasing access to the web to research and book their holidays without the perceived pressure and sales tactics from a travel agent.
When researching holidays it is interesting to see that it’s the younger age group who are using travel agents more for advice. It is not a surprise to see the younger age groups make more use of tablet and mobile for research but it is interesting that the 55+ group are more likely to do research on computers than the 16-24 and 25-34 year olds.
It is worth noting here that quite a lot of people, even in the younger age group, booked over the phone, but hardly anyone in the survey actually completed the booking process using a smartphone:
Looking to the future; it appears likely that more people are going online to book their next holiday. Half of people (50%) responding to the survey said that they would be booking their next holiday online. This compares to 26% of people choosing whichever option is cheapest and just 10% planning on going through a high street travel agent.
The travel market is continuing to evolve around technology. With increasing access to information and services available at the consumers’ finger tips, the traditional agency model will have to tread the line between value and cost carefully to retain customers.
Travel companies stuck with the mentality that the 55yrs+ demographic don’t use their website should think again! The research shows that more 55yrs+ users now carry out desktop/laptop research than use travel agents. The older groups also use this technology to book their holiday more often than the younger demographics. Going forward we should see less emphasis from travel companies on brochures and more focus on websites, to best cater for this shift in patterns.
Recent research from Travelsupermarket.com indicated that customers can end up paying over 450% more by booking holiday ‘add-ons’ such as airport parking, hotels and lounges through their holiday operators and flight companies. So it is recommended you continue your research even on the add-ons to get the best deals for parking, hotels and lounges from companies like FHR.