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It’s going to be be a lastminute.com summer as consumers gear up for the reopening of travel

Ahead of the government announcements on travel and “traffic-light” systems – lastminute.com has revealed their booking data and likely trends before the proposed easing of restrictions on May 17th.

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Formula 1 holidays – Brits looking to emulate Lewis Hamilton by racing into pole position in a bid to book holidays abroad.

  • Go away with a longer stay – to feel you are getting your money’s worth on the cost of the COVID test
  • Lookers are glued to the news hoping to be first to the booking finishing line when the government makes their next announcement. 
    • While bookers are already trying to jump the gun and anticipate the list of countries.
  • Sun & beach cities where you can enjoy the sand and the culture in the same place means the likes of Barcelona and Dubai land in our top ten destinations.

Brits are revving their engines and ready to hit the booking accelerator when the light to certain countries turns green according to the latest data from lastminute.com

It also seems that those countries on the amber list won’t see too much stalling as it’s likely that if perennial favourites like Greece and Spain are there – people will hit the gas – and this time for a longer duration than normal with a hope that these will move to the green list by the peak of the summer.

Bookers are also assembling behind the grid with searches soaring in the last week for the Algarve, Gibraltar and Malta – trying to anticipate the green list and jump the starting flag. They’re also looking to stay longer on holiday – with the average booking for Malta for example now for 7 nights rather than the usual average of 3-5 nights (81% of bookings for 5 nights or more, compared to 57% in the same period in 2019).

We’re also seeing the likes of Barcelona and Dubai in our top 5 booked destinations, with their blend of beach life and culture/shopping giving you the best of both worlds. But rather than long weekends, people are taking a week there – for example 83% of Dubai bookings are currently for 7 nights or more, compared to 47% in a previous period.

For those people in the pack looking to ease into the first bend and unsure if the likes of France and Spain make the list, they’re turning to their UK equivalents – Jersey and Newquay. Again bookings for Jersey have increased to a week’s stay from a long weekend. Newquay also benefits from Easyjet flights from London as well as Logan Air offering regional flights to the south coast from the likes of Edinburgh and Manchester – beating the inevitable traffic jams.

Some are in for the long-haul rather than a sprint with inspirational destinations with low covid rates gaining traction – for instance the Maldives.

Comparing lastminute.com data from April 2019 vs April 2021 shows a significant improvement in ranking for Jersey, Edinburgh, Malta, Santorini, Dubai and London. Gibraltar has also moved an impressive +110 in rank change from 142 to 32 in destination rank

Another insight is the all-inclusive package holiday, which is more popular than ever. Bed & Breakfast share of package holiday bookings in 2021 is at 45% (v.s. 42% in 2019) and the all-inclusive share has grown slightly from 11% to 12%.

Andrea Bertoli – CEO of the lastminute.com group says: “We’ve had a Spring of speculation and we’re hoping to see more certainty coming from this week’s travel updates. We’ve repeatedly said we’re looking for a stable Summer of travel news from the government announcements because we think it’s going to be a case of “I’m a holidaymaker – get me out of here” as 90% of our searches are for international destinations.

While we understand it is difficult for policy makers and we want to keep everyone safe, continuous uncertainty and u-turns do not help either the consumer or the travel industry. The only flip flops we want to see should be on the beach. In order to give everyone peace of mind, we’d advise the government to select some stable routes and progressively add more destinations, rather than changing plans every second week.. 

We can see from our booking and search data that the demand is there, and there are going to be some really amazing last minute holiday deals for customers this summer. People have been dreaming of this moment for months, having missed out on so many memories in the last year and we can’t wait to help holidaymakers get over the finishing line and “celebrate the summer.”.. 

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