Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Industry Shaken by Online Revolution

Holiday Industry Shaken by Online Revolution

The Internet is shaking up the holiday industry like never before, the latest figures from the UKÂ’s leading travel companies has revealed.

(PRWEB) July 29, 2005

As holiday homeowners and holidaymakers use technology to bypass traditional companies and interact directly with one another, the travel industry has been forced to cutback capacity by up to a third, financial results have disclosed.

First Choice has cut the number of winter holidays it offers by 6 percent this year - with a massive 33 percent cut in ski holidays. It has even reduced its robust strong summer season by 2 percent. Thomas Cook has announced similar reductions. And big player MyTravel plans to serve 500,000 fewer customers this year than last*.

What is all the more remarkable is that these cutbacks come at a time when more UK holidaymakers than ever are going abroad. In just the past year, trips abroad by UK residents have increased by four percent - equating to 64.8 million trips in total**.

It is no coincidence that at the same time, the online holiday industry - in particular holiday home lettings - has taken off. As with so many other aspects of life, Internet technology is now being used to bypass the traditional middlemen and book directly - and more cheaply - with airlines, hotels or villa rentals.

And the biggest growth market is in person-to-person rents. An estimated 231,000 Britons now own second holiday homes abroad - more than double what it was just a decade ago - with France and Spain the most popular destinations. And by renting their properties out when they’re not there, Brits are raking in £190 million a year from their properties***.

As a result, there are now several rapidly expanding online businesses that enable a homeowner to market their house for a small fee through a website. With thousands of homes on offer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, bargain-hunting holidaymakers can browse the properties at their leisure, and then contact the owners in person.

The result, as the co-founder of one of the leading companies, Holiday Lettings (www. holidaylettings. co. uk), makes clear is that everyone benefits. “It’s the eBay phenomenon,” explained Ross Elder. “People have learnt that you can trust and trade with other individuals through the Internet. Not only do you pay less but you get a greater choice.

“When all it takes is a few clicks, is it any wonder that people are saving themselves thousands of pounds booking flights and accommodation on the Internet instead of sitting in a stuffy office and being forced to go with what a travel agent has on their books?”

The choice is also much more expansive, explained Elder. At Holiday Lettings, the companyÂ’s search facility means properties all over the world can be found at the click of a button. Holidaymakers can browse for apartments or villas, and even castles, windmills or houseboats; alternatively, they can search according to destination, size, type, or specific features such as a pool, Jacuzzi or balcony.

It means a win-win all around for those going on holiday and those wanting to rent out their holiday homes when theyÂ’re not there. And until the big travel agencies recognise where the market is going, they will continue to lose out.

Notes to editors:

  • Figures taken from industry magazine, Travel Weekly. “Industry boosted by supply and demand balance”, 16.05.05.
** Office of National Statistics, 8.06.05.

*** “Britons home in on properties abroad” - The Times, 16.06.05 (source: Office of National Statistics)

About Holiday Lettings:

Holidaylettings. co. uk is the webÂ’s fastest growing holiday rental site, offering both homeowners and holidaymakers the chance to find and rent properties all over the globe. Established in 1999 by old friends Ross Elder and Andrew Firth, HolidayLettings. co. uk contains in-depth information on over 2,500 properties from the popular Spanish resorts to secluded Caribbean beach huts.