The global financial crisis has accelerated an ongoing trend across the travel sector, namely the increasing popularity of cheap holidays as opposed to overtly “luxury” breaks. As the credit crunch and its after effects have led people to look for different ways of economising, marketing gurus have urged all industries to stress the value-for-money of their products, with “recession-beating” deals.
This is certainly true for the travel industry, as can clearly seen by the success of the no-frills airlines compared to their more established rivals and the rapid growth of independent online booking.
Indeed, it has been the appearance of scores of independent holiday providers that has provided a real spur to the availability of cheap holidays. It has made tracking down bargains online available to a far wider group of people than those who have been determined enough to hunt down cheap holidays through their local newspapers or small ads in the past.
A further boost has come from the advent of price comparison sites, which near-instantaneously compare scores and scores of holiday prices, customised to an individual customer’s own preferences. It could be argued now that online bookings are the most important part of the UK holiday market.
The reason for this sea change is, quite simply, computer power. Computers linked by the Internet are unbeatable when it comes to sifting vast amount of information and picking out those variables which are important to the individual user – in this case the potential holidaymaker.
Cheap holidays are much easier to hunt down when processing power is harnessed, rather than “letting your fingers do the walking” through local telephone directories, local papers or a host of brochures. This is a process which has only been assisted by the recession.
Despite the huge difficulties that this has caused many operators across the travel sector, cheap holidays have become more sought after than ever before, and so online bookings and price comparison sites have been given a boost alongside them. This in turn has had a knock-on effect on the more established operators, who are casting an anxious eye towards their upstart Internet rivals – as can be seen from the large number of promotional deals and special holidays from these companies strongly emphasising the low cost and value aspects of their products.