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TUI survey: Saturdays in January are busiest booking days of the year

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People booking holidays to cope with the winter blues
The phenomenon has a name: The first Saturday in the New Year is dubbed “Sunshine Saturday” in the UK. It is the busiest day of the year for holiday bookings in Europe. As a recent survey carried out by the world’s largest travel group TUI Group has shown, January has become the busiest month of the year across Europe for the tour operator, with huge spikes in bookings observed each Saturday in January. This year, the busiest day for holiday bookings in the UK was 7 January and in Germany, Sunshine Saturday will be 14 January. On 7 January alone, more than 27,500 TUI customers in the UK booked their annual holiday. Nearly one million people visited one of TUI’s stores or websites run under the Thomson or First Choice brands on Sunshine Saturday, which is an all-time high.
Germany: Bookings peak on 14 January 2017
Holiday bookings in Germany also focus strongly on Saturdays in January. In 2017, German holidaymakers’ desire to travel seems to remain strong. TUI expects bookings to peak on Saturday 14 January. According to internal calculations, more than 20,000 Germans will book their holiday with TUI Germany on that day alone. Overall, TUI expects one million people to go online or visit one of its high street agents on 14 January.
People booking holidays to cope with the winter blues
Erik Friemuth, Chief Marketing Officer of TUI Group: “Many families use the Christmas break and the beginning of the new year to make their travel plans for the whole year. There could also be a psychological explanation for this post-festive season booking pattern: the cosy Christmas period is over, people have to return to work while the sky is grey. This is when the winter blues kick in. A way to escape is to think of sunshine and beaches – and book a summer holiday.”
All-inclusive holidays are particularly popular among British holidaymakers. According to TUI, more than half of all holidays booked for 2017 (53 per cent) will be all-inclusive holidays, and this trend has been further intensified by the Brexit vote and the associated devaluation of the pound. Price-conscious Britons can avoid any imponderables driven by higher incidental costs in euro or dollar countries.
Smartphones and tablets play an increasingly important role in planning and booking a holiday. The latest survey has shown that 43 per cent of all online bookings made in the UK on 7 January were made via mobile devices – a new record and an increase of four per cent versus last year.
What are the most popular destinations this year?
TUI Germany guests are favouring in particular Spain, Italy and Greece this year. As the recent survey has shown, Mediterranean beach holidays also remain one of the most popular holiday types among British tourists. Some top destinations include the Balearics, Corfu and Rhodes. Tourists are also looking to explore more exotic destinations on long-haul tours. Jamaica, Mexico and any other Caribbean destinations will top the list of the leading long-haul destinations in UK for 2017. In Germany they are the United States, Mexico, South Africa, Canada, Mauritius, Seychelles, the Dominican Republic as well as Indonesia. However, city break destinations such as New York are also very popular.
For the Netherlands, Spain remains the top destination, Greece is number two. Also Portugal and Italy are in high demand. Cape Verde is growing continuously as a destination for Dutch guests. With regards to long-haul, the Dutch Antilles are the preferred choice of destination, in particular Curacao. Suriname is a new offering and it’s expected that there will be high demand for the destination.
The trend to increasingly book a post-Christmas holiday in early January also continues in other European countries. In Austria, summer bookings for 2017 are already significantly ahead of last year. Broken down by country, Greece is the top holiday destination for Austrians so far in 2017. One of the reasons for this trend is that customers experienced booking bottlenecks last summer, above all for trips to Spain, as holidaymakers in other European countries had booked their holidays earlier.
The TUI Group has more than 20 million customers worldwide.

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