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Winter Holidays Abroad - UK - May 2015

“The ageing of the population and the growing importance of affluent Baby Boomers to the travel market are strong plus-factors for winter holidays abroad in the coming years. Holidays with a ‘soft wellness’ angle (ie ‘winter tonic’ breaks with the emphasis on general wellbeing and revitalisation), as well as more energetic products such as ‘Silver Skier’ breaks, and exotic winter cruises are likely to be key areas of growth.”

–    John Worthington, Senior Analyst

This report covers the following areas: 

  • Who are the 'Winter Regulars' and what opportunities do they offer travel companies?
  • What are the key marketing messages for winter holidays abroad?
  • When is the best time to engage consumers with the idea of winter holidays abroad?
  • What is the way forward for a struggling snowsports sector?

This report examines winter holidays abroad taken by UK adults. For the purposes of this report ‘winter holidays’ are defined as trips taken during the October-March half of the year, and ‘summer holidays’ are defined as those taken during the April-September months. Holidays must constitute at least one overnight stay.

An adult, for the purposes of Mintel’s research, is anyone aged 16 or over.

The standard travel and tourism definitions used in the terminology of this report are as follows:

  • Tourism is any travel which involves at least one overnight stay away from home.
  • holiday is a subjectively defined form of tourism, as defined by the tourist in response to surveys such as the IPS. A holiday can be distinguished from other leisure travel such as visits to friends and relatives (VFR) or shopping trips.
  • Short haul refers to destinations within Europe. The following destinations are considered to be short haul: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus EU, Cyprus Non-EU, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Other Europe.
  • Long haul refers to destinations outside of Europe.
  • The Canaries are included as a part of the Spanish market, while Madeira and the Azores are included as part of the Portuguese market.
  • package holiday is defined as the simultaneous sale of at least two elements of a holiday to the traveller: fares on public transport (eg flights) and commercial accommodation (eg hotel or self-catering apartment). Other elements, such as meals or excursions, are not essential to the definition of an inclusive tour. The term all-inclusive’ is used to describe a special type of resort holiday in which food, drink, excursions and other services are provided as part of the total holiday cost.
  • An independent holiday is one in which the traveller organises and books transport and accommodation from separate sources (eg a Channel ferry crossing and a caravan site in France).


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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definition
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Winter holidays show recovery
                • Figure 1: Forecast total winter holidays abroad market volume, 2009/10-19/20
                • Figure 2: Forecast total winter holidays abroad market value*, 2009/10-19/20
                • Figure 3: Winter holidays abroad, volume by month, 2014/15
              • Season of short breaks and long-haul
                • Market factors
                  • Strong Pound promotes overseas spend
                    • Figure 4: Sterling exchange rate vs selected ‘winter destination’ currencies, percentage change 2009-15 (as at 28 April 2015)
                  • Wage growth is key for supplementary winter spend
                    • Companies, brands and innovation
                      • Dreamliner opens up new winter sun destinations
                        • Winter wellness
                          • Northern soul
                            • Markets and festivals
                              • The consumer
                                • Winter beach and city neck and neck
                                  • Figure 5: Winter holidays taken in the past three years, December 2014
                                  • Figure 6: Types of winter holidays abroad, taken in the past three years, December 2014
                                • Escaping UK weather, summer costs and crowds
                                  • Figure 7: Reasons for taking winter holidays abroad, December 2014
                                • What we think
                                • Issues And Insights

                                    • Who are the ‘Winter Regulars’ and what opportunities do they offer travel companies?
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • What are the key marketing messages for winter holidays abroad?
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                                • When is the best time to engage consumers with the idea of winter holidays abroad?
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                      • What is the way forward for a struggling snowsports sector?
                                                        • The facts
                                                          • The implications
                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                            • Key points
                                                              • Oversea holidays on course for gradual recovery
                                                                • Figure 8: Estimated overseas holiday market volume, value and average spend, 2009-14
                                                                • Figure 9: Estimated domestic holiday market volume, value and average spend, 2009-14
                                                              • Macro factors positive but uncertainties remain
                                                                • Figure 10: GfK Consumer Confidence Index, January 2013-March 2015
                                                              • Oil price plummets but fare falls likely to be modest
                                                                • Figure 11: European Brent Crude Oil monthly average spot price (US$ per barrel), January 2014-March 2015
                                                              • Pound heads back towards pre-recessionary levels
                                                                • Figure 12: Sterling exchange rate vs selected ‘winter destination’ currencies, annual averages, 2009-14, and spot rate March 2015
                                                              • Resort living costs fall in Costas
                                                                • Figure 13: Holiday costs, comparison of top 20 leading resorts, 2014-15
                                                              • Best long-haul winter sun value
                                                                • APD changes to boost winter sun 2015/16
                                                                  • Figure 14: Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates April 2013-April 2015
                                                                • New winter holiday transport links
                                                                  • Short-haul winter routes
                                                                    • Long-haul winter routes
                                                                      • Eurostar year-round routes
                                                                      • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • New mainstream sun holidays
                                                                            • Wellness and long-stay trips
                                                                              • New snowsports products
                                                                                • Single escapes
                                                                                  • Winter adventures
                                                                                    • Christmas markets
                                                                                      • Santa in the sky
                                                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Winter holidays abroad up 10% over past two years
                                                                                            • Figure 15: Winter holidays abroad volume, value and average spend, 2008/9-2019/20
                                                                                          • Forecast
                                                                                            • Figure 16: Forecast total winter holidays abroad market volume, 2009/10-19/20
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Forecast total winter holidays abroad market value*, 2009/10-19/20
                                                                                          • Forecast Methodology
                                                                                          • Segment Performance

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • All winter months showing recovery
                                                                                                • Figure 18: Winter holidays abroad, volume by month, 2011/12-2014/15
                                                                                              • Packages higher in October-December period
                                                                                                • Figure 19: Holidays abroad, package vs independent volumes, winter 2013/14 & summer 2014
                                                                                              • Winter holiday durations are shorter
                                                                                                • Figure 20: Holidays abroad, volume and percentage share by duration, winter 2013/14 & summer 2014
                                                                                                • Figure 21: Holidays abroad, short-haul vs long-haul volume, winter 2013/14 & summer 2014
                                                                                              • Beach and city lead winter holiday types
                                                                                                • Figure 22: Types of winter (October-March) holiday abroad, taken in the past three years, December 2014
                                                                                              • Snowsports on slippery slope but falling prices may stem decline
                                                                                                • Figure 23: Snowsports holidays, volume and value, 2008/9-2014/15
                                                                                              • Spain is top winter destination, led by Canaries
                                                                                                • Figure 24: Winter (October-March) holidays abroad, top 20 destinations by volume, 2013/14
                                                                                              • Central Europe popular for festive markets
                                                                                                • France and Austria dominate snowsports
                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Snowsports holidays, percentage share of trips by destination, 2013/14
                                                                                                • Nordic demand is rising
                                                                                                  • Winter long-haul destinations led by Caribbean
                                                                                                    • Over-55s take relatively high proportion of winter holidays
                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Holidays abroad, volume by age group, winter 2013/14 and summer 2014
                                                                                                  • Companies and Products

                                                                                                      • Winter sun
                                                                                                        • TUI plc
                                                                                                          • Figure 27: TUI AG key financials, 2012/13-2013/14
                                                                                                        • Thomas Cook
                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Thomas Cook UK and Ireland key financials, 2012/13-2013/14
                                                                                                        • Other Long-haul
                                                                                                          • Virgin Holidays
                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Virgin Holidays Limited key financials, 2013
                                                                                                          • Trailfinders
                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Trailfinders Limited key financials, 2013-14
                                                                                                          • City breaks
                                                                                                            • Superbreak
                                                                                                              • Figure 31: Superbreak Mini-Holidays Limited key financials, 2013-14
                                                                                                            • Snowsports
                                                                                                              • TUI plc/Crystal Ski
                                                                                                                • Hotelplan
                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Hotelplan (UK Group) Limited key financials, 2012-13
                                                                                                                • Inghams
                                                                                                                  • Esprit Ski
                                                                                                                    • Ski Total
                                                                                                                      • Nordic holidays
                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Winter vs Summer Holiday Taking

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • A third of UK adults take winter holidays abroad
                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Winter vs summer holidays taken in the past three years, December 2014
                                                                                                                          • AB bias is sharper for winter holidays
                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Winter vs summer holidays abroad taken in the past three years, by age and socio-economic group, December 2014
                                                                                                                          • Cross-selling potential
                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Winter and summer holiday combinations taken in the past three years, December 2014
                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – Winter vs Summer Holiday Types

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Beach & city are closer in popularity during winter
                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Types of winter vs summer holidays abroad, taken in the past three years, December 2014
                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Types of winter vs summer holidays abroad, taken in the past three years, December 2014
                                                                                                                            • Demographics of winter holiday types over the past three years (overall consumer penetration)
                                                                                                                              • Cross-selling holiday types
                                                                                                                              • The Consumer – When People Book And When They Go

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Winter beach and city peak in October
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Winter beach holidays and city breaks abroad taken in the past three years, by month last holiday was taken, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Key winter holiday booking windows
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Winter beach holidays and city breaks abroad taken in the past three years, by month last holiday was booked, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Winter regulars vs occasionals
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Frequency of taking winter holidays abroad, December 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Demographic profile of regular winter holiday takers abroad, December 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Types of winter holidays abroad, regular vs occasional/rare winter holiday takers, December 2014
                                                                                                                                  • Slight rise in winter holiday penetration
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Changes in winter holiday taking abroad over the past five years, December 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 44: Types of winter holiday taken by changes in winter holiday taking abroad over the past five years, December 2014
                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – Reasons Why People Take Winter Holidays Abroad

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Winter escapists
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Reasons for taking winter holidays abroad, December 2014
                                                                                                                                    • Lower costs and fewer crowds draw travellers
                                                                                                                                      • Reasons for winter holidays –demographics
                                                                                                                                        • Escapism most important for regulars
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Reasons for taking winter holidays abroad, ‘regulars’ vs ‘occasionals’, December 2014
                                                                                                                                        • One in four see winter as time for main annual holiday
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: ‘Main’ vs ‘supplementary’ winter holiday taking abroad, December 2014
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: ‘Main’ vs ‘supplementary’ winter holiday taking abroad, ‘regulars’ vs ‘occasionals’, December 2014
                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Reasons Why People Do not Take Winter Holidays Abroad

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Cost is main barrier
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Reasons for not taking winter holidays abroad, December 2014

                                                                                                                                        Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                        To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                        Winter Holidays Abroad - UK - May 2015

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