Almost half of guests opt for all-inclusive

Expectations are being exceeded after new data has uncovered booking trends for the upcoming May half term and summer school holidays at the Advantage Travel Partnership Conference.

Down to the wire

27% of bookings for the May half term have been made since the start of March 2024, meaning one in four guests are willing to wait it out: likely for travel concerns to assuage or prices to drop.

Across all bookings, be they last-minute or earlybird, one thing is clear: guests want somewhere warm. Spain leads the ranks of top-selling destinations, shortly followed by the Canaries (with Tenerife proving most popular), the Balearics and Greece.

Members of the Partnership suggested the data and sales it reflects exceeded expectations for the half term period. Kelly Cookes, chief commercial officer, said: "Performance so far has been really strong for both the May half term and the school summer holidays," but noted that "travellers are clearly still looking to manage costs when it comes to bookings."

Cost management is evidently reflected in 42% of all bookings being all inclusive, making it by far the most popular board basis.

Kelly continued: "The increase in all-inclusive bookings is driven by a mix of motivations as consumers are planning more and are increasingly more cost conscious than they have been in recent years."

Further afield

13% of all May half term departures booked so far are for long-haul destinations, with Dubai and New York leading the charge. Looking further afield to the school summer holidays, the long-haul proportion of bookings dips only slightly to 12%: New York retains its place in second for the most-popular destinations with Orlando in first and Cancun in third. Kelly felt that it was "great to see" the variety in destinations being booked.

City breaks are making notable headway in the upcoming summer break, with one in 20 bookings largely split between Rome, Paris, Prague, Kraków and Barcelona.

The summer period sees even more bookings (46%) for all inclusive accommodation and, unlike the upcoming half term, guests are somewhat more reluctant to leave it late: four out of five bookings so far were made before April.

If the results of the upcoming May and summer school holidays seem impressive, the growth and performance in new branches led Julia to declare that "agents are keeping the high street alive." More on that, including the over-£100 million value of new branches to the Partnership, here.

The Advantage Travel Partnership Conference is taking place from May 15th to 18th, 2024 at the Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa.