Brits ‘Booking Direct’ Through Hotel Websites More Than Doubled Over Last Decade, Finds Barclays

  • Almost two fifths (37%) of Brits plan to book their holiday accommodation directly with hoteliers this year, more than double on ten years ago when 17% of holidaymakers booked direct
  • Online travel agents are the preferred booking method (52%) for international holidaymakers, followed by traditional travel agents (22%) and booking direct (17%)
  • Key drivers for booking direct for UK holiday makers include cheaper prices (62%), special benefits offered only to direct bookers (39%) and easier booking experiences (37%)

Special offers for direct bookings and lower prices are luring British holidaymakers to book directly through hotel websites, finds Barclays Corporate Banking.

Almost two fifths (37%) of Brits plan to book their stays through hotel and self-accommodation provider websites this year, compared to 17% in 2007 and 30% five years ago. This contrasts with international trends where travel agents online and on the high street are the most popular ways for holidaymakers to book their UK breaks (52% and 22% respectively).

The findings are from a Barclays survey of British holiday booking trends and the Barclays Corporate Banking report, Destination UK: driving growth in the UK hospitality and leisure sector, which reveals the 2017 holiday and leisure preferences of almost 10,000 guests from the UK, continental Europe, the US, Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality & Leisure at Barclays Corporate Banking, said

“Competition in the hospitality and leisure market is fierce and our results show that efforts by hoteliers to lure customers to book directly through their websites are paying off, with Brits now over twice as likely to book via this route than they were ten years ago.

“British hoteliers and self-accommodation providers should look to capitalise on this – and the increased trend for international guests to book their holidays using their mobile phones – by offering discounts and special benefits for direct bookers, and by ensuring their websites are mobile-optimised.”

Direct bookings boosted by discounts, special benefits and improvements to hotel websites

Brits are being drawn to direct bookings by discounts (62%), offers of special benefits (39%), and improvements to the actual booking experience (37%) the report finds. Also effective in encouraging direct bookings is the provision of loyalty bonuses (27%) and access to price comparisons with nearby hotels (23%).

Booking holidays “on-the-move” using smart phones grows in popularity

The number of Brits booking their trips online using their mobile phones has also doubled from the 3 per cent of all bookings made this way five years ago. With 6% of all UK holidaymakers planning to book their holidays online using their mobile phones this year, this equates to 2.4 million Brits planning their holidays, potentially, whilst on the move.

The popularity of smart phone bookings is even more obvious among international guests, with nearly one in ten (9%) planning to book their holidays this way. It is particularly popular for Chinese 17% Saudi Arabian holidaymakers (14%).

Conversely, US guests are the international visitors most likely to welcome a human touch, with twice as many booking their holidays by conversation over the phone (8% versus 4%) or in person (15% versus 11%) compared to the averages seen for other global holidaymakers.

Airbnb is more tempting for international holidaymakers than staycationers

Airbnb is a popular option for international holidaymakers, with nearly a quarter (24%) considering this type of accommodation for their UK breaks this year. However, Brits still prefer the hotel experience (49%) and less than one in ten (6%) currently plan to use an Airbnb for their staycations, with mid-market (25%) and budget (10%) hotels being more popular options.