Travel Disruptions Cost Travellers £750 Million in 2010

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Despite positive outlook for 2011, ‘Holiday homework’ is key for the year ahead

More than one in ten Britons who went on holiday in 2010 (13%) saw their travel plans disrupted, according to new research out today. The resulting turmoil meant the affected 4.9 million travellers found themselves out of pocket by an average £151 each (adding up to £741 million in total), the “Holidays Unpacked” report, created by lastminute.com, found.

The research among 2,124 British adults found that almost 2 million travellers in 2010 found themselves caught in the Ash Cloud,  just over 1.8 million were hit by adverse weather conditions and just under half a million were affected by strike action.

It has emerged that some of this financial loss might have been avoided, however. The report showed that over two thirds (67%) of travelling Brits do not read the terms and conditions of their holiday arrangements and a third (28%) do not print off their flight or journey documentation – leaving them potentially exposed when things go wrong.

In spite of the disruptions, however, the outlook for 2011 is positive. The research showed that nearly three quarters of Brits (70%) are planning to go on holiday as, if not more, often in 2011 compared with last year, proving that the British holiday spirit has not been dampened.  Holiday spending is also set to rise as British travellers going on holiday in 2011 plan to spend £1531 each this year, compared to spending £1356 on average in 2010.

The good news for the British travel industry is that almost a third (29%) of holidaymakers plan to spend the majority of their time on holiday in the UK this year – with the ‘staycation’ trend that has emerged over the past two years set to continue.  A combination of the Royal Weddings and substantial investment in UK travel – lastminute.com has contributed to the Government-backed £100 million VisitBritain fighting fund to promote British travel – will contribute to a brighter year for the domestic industry.

Mark Maddock, managing director at lastminute.com said: “A triple whammy of erupting volcanoes, bad weather and strikes took its toll both emotionally and financially in 2010. That said, our research shows us that no matter what obstacles lie in the way, travellers will not compromise on taking holidays and making the most of our free time: the holiday is considered a right not a privilege according to our report.

“With that in mind, while there is no way to guard against ‘acts of God’ and inclement weather, we advise that holidaymakers really do their ‘holiday homework’ this year. There are three straightforward but crucial measures that people should take to avoid disappointment and ensure they aren’t left in the cold if things go wrong.”

 

Forearmed is forewarned – lastminute.com’s top tips before you travel

  1. Leave a paper trail: the ‘Holidays Unpacked’ report also revealed that about a third of travelling Brits (30%) do not print off their hotel reservation confirmation or flight confirmation emails (28%). lastminute.com advises printing all correspondence pertaining to important holiday information to back up any challenges, should they occur.
  2. Terms and conditions apply: Two thirds of holidaymakers (67%) admit to skipping through their holiday terms and conditions. As cumbersome as they may be, do take the time to go through them. Check that the supplier you’re booking with is ATOL protected. For more information, visit lastminute.com’s dedicated web page: http://www.lastminute.com/site/deals/protection.html .
  3. Ensure you’re insured: almost a third of travellers (29%) claim travel insurance has become more important to them in the last 12 months. Take great care to read the small print and really get to grips with the terms of the arrangement and the scope of the cover.

Mark Maddock concludes:  “With so many exciting events on the horizon both home and away, 2011 is set to be a great year for UK travellers.  But safety – and safeguarding your holiday investment – is paramount. We would urge everyone to thoroughly research their itinerary in advance and print out all the necessary documentation to take with them.”

 

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