Customer Insight

Created and published in house by TLF Research. Customer Insight magazine is our way of sharing features, case studies and latest thinking on creating an outstanding customer experience. All designed to inform, stimulate debate and sometimes to provoke. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy creating it!

Home > Customer Insight > Case Studies > Staycation vs Vacation

Staycation vs Vacation

By Tom Kiralfy, Panel Manager, TLF Research

With holiday season well and truly upon us, we decided to see if the warm spells we’ve been having across the UK (this year we had the hottest Easter Monday on record) have influenced people’s decisions as to how they’ll be spending their time away this year from how often they’ll be going away, to how they’ll be booking their holiday, from where they’ll be going, to what they’ll be doing and everything in between…keep reading to learn more.

How many holidays (for a week or more) are you likely to take in 2019?


60% of people are likely to take 1 or 2 holidays this year, with the average per person at 1.7. However, nearly a fifth of us don’t plan to take any holidays at all this year.

Why are you not likely to take any holidays in 2019?

The main reason why this 20% won’t be taking any holidays this year, with 64% of the response, is that they can’t afford to. This increases to 86% of 18 to 24 year olds but decreases to 39% of those aged 65 and over.

One surprising statistic is that 23% of people aren’t even interested in going on holiday, with men less interested, at 29% compared to women’s 19%, and those over 65 less interested at 36% compared to only 9.5% of 18 to 24 year olds.

It must be frustrating for Millennials - 91% of them are interested in going on holiday, but only 14% can afford to!

What is your favourite type of holiday?


People’s favourite type of holiday, with a whopping 39% of the vote is - unsurprising when you consider the weather we have - the good old beach holiday.

This is followed by city breaks, with 23% of the vote, then rural holidays, with 15% (the Lakes, the Peaks and the Highlands are hugely popular), then activity holidays in fourth, with 13%  – which are much more popular with 18 to 24 year olds at 18.9% but not so much with those 65 and over, with only 3%.

Going on a road trip is fifth, with 6% and any ‘other’ type is last, with 5% (these included things like coach trips, Disney holidays and cruises).

67% are spending the same or more this year

When it comes to how much people will be spending when booking their holidays this year it’s a real mixed bag. Overall, it’s good news for travel operators, with 42% spending the same as last year and 25% spending more, but delving into these figures helps paint a more granular picture:

36% of 18 to 24 year olds will spend more, compared to 27% of those aged 65 and over, but remember, only 14.3% of Millennials can actually afford to go away – perhaps this is why!

55% of those aged 65 and over will spend the same as last year, compared to 36% of 18 to 24 year olds, and 38% of women will spend the same, compared to 48% of men - women are actually more likely than men to spend less this year, with 27% saying so, compared to only 16% of men.

Young men are the demographic most likely to spend more this year compared to 2018, so discovering what holidays they’re interested in could really help the tourism sector.

Less traditional holiday choices


The less-traditional holiday types, including: eco holidays, solo travel, holiday swaps and experience holidays, still have a way to go before they can compete with the likes of the beach holiday or city break, with 34% of people saying they wouldn’t be interested in any of them. Although, encouragingly, only 17% of 18 - 24 year olds said this, compared to 54% of those aged 65 and over. Perhaps you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? [OR the future is promising for the modern holiday.]

The most popular ‘new-age’ holiday type is the experience holiday, with 40% opting for it as one they would consider.

Eco-holidays are more popular with 18 - 24 year olds, with 28% saying they would consider it, compared to only 6% of over 65s. Solo travel is also more popular with 18 - 24 year olds, with 34% considering it, compared to only 18% of over 65s. 

How many hours do you spend researching a holiday before you book it?


The average time a person spends researching a holiday before booking it is 4.8 hours. Those over 65 are likely to spend a bit longer, at 4.9 hours, and Millennials are likely to spend less, at 3.8 hours.

Nearly 20% of people though, spend over 10 hours researching a holiday before booking – perhaps this is explained by the results of our following question about whether people use travel agents or not…

Do you use a travel agent, either on the high street or online, to book your holidays?

20 years ago, if you wanted to book a holiday you had to go to your local travel agent. But since the rise of the internet, the number of people choosing to use them has been in decline and, as of 2019, only 45% of people still choose to use a travel agent (either in store or online).

What, if anything, would encourage you to book your holidays through a travel agent, either online or on the high street?


Of the 46% who said they do not use a travel agent to book their holidays, 39% said there was nothing travel agents could do to entice them to use one. Women are less likely to completely rule out using a travel agent, with 37% saying there’s nothing that would encourage them to use one, compared to 43% of men.

Another factor that influences whether a non-travel agent user would consider using one is age; only 29% of 18 to 24 year olds would never consider one, compared to 53% of over 65s.


Of those non-travel agent users that would at least consider using a travel agent, the top 3 things that would encourage them to do so are:

  • Exclusive agency deals, 30%
  • A more personal service, 18%
  • Greater transparency with agency fees, 16%.

There’s very little travel agents can do to entice people that have already made their minds up, but for those that are open to using one, the key things they can do are:

  • Offer exclusive agency deals, particularly to the 18 to 24 year old bracket
  • Provide a more personalised service
  • Be more transparent with how fees are calculated

A further selling point would be to provide more physical brochures to browse/take away, again aiming at the 18 - 24 year old market.

How many weekends away are you likely to take in 2019?


47% of people are likely to take 1 or 2 weekends away this year, with the average per person being 2. However, 22% of people don’t plan on taking any weekends away this year.

Interestingly, more people are likely to book a holiday for a week or more than they are to go on a weekend away, with 81% going on at least 1 holiday compared to 78% going away for at least 1 weekend.

Last year we had a fantastically hot English Summer. If the same weather was guaranteed this summer how likely or unlikely would you be to book a UK holiday?

The glorious weather last year certainly helped give the UK tourism industry a boost, and it looks like the sector may reap the same rewards if we have another good spell this year, with 62% of people saying they would be either ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to book a holiday in the UK if the weather was the same.

But, people still like to leave home when they’re on holiday, as only 44% would be ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to stay at home instead of going on holiday if the weather was as good.

A small blow to international tourism, only 48% would be ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to book a holiday abroad if the weather was as good this year. 

If you were staying at home for a holiday, what activities are you likely to enjoy at home? Select all that apply.


If people were to stay at home for a holiday, the top 3 activities they’re likely to enjoy are:

  • Day trips out – 56%
  • Going out for walks – 52%
  • Cooking and eating out – 45%

As a nation, we like being out and about…and eating. Well, I suppose we have to fuel those days out somehow!

Interestingly, but maybe not surprisingly, there are several activities where interest in them differs greatly between genders
and ages:

  • 22% of men enjoy doing a bit of DIY, but only 17% of women do
  • Women prefer a good read, with 48% enjoying picking up a book, compared to 36% of men
  • 49% of women enjoy cooking and eating out, compared to 38% of men
  • 59% of women enjoy a good day trip, compared to 50% of men…perhaps they’re busy inside with the DIY?

When it comes to age, only 20% of 18 - 24 year olds enjoy gardening, but green fingers seem to develop over time, with 52% of over 65s enjoying pottering in the garden. What Millennials do enjoy more than older generations is watching TV and films, with 51% enjoying the latest boxset, compared to 30% of over 65s. Perhaps this too is because the younger generations have less money to spend on activities and days out. 

Which of the following activities or day trips are you likely to do at any point in 2019?


When it comes to activities and day trips that people are likely to do at any point this year, the top 3 activities are:

  • Eating out – 64%
  • Visiting a park – 49%
  • Going to the cinema – 48%

So it’s good to see we still like being out and about, regardless of if we’re on holiday…and we also like eating out, a lot!

Again, when looking at the findings by gender and age we get some interesting, and this time surprising, results:

  • Women are a lot more sociable than men; with 34% enjoying the theatre, compared to 28% of men; 33% enjoy going to gigs/live music, compared to 28% of men and 24% enjoy going to amusements parks, compared to just 18% of men
  • Where men DO enjoy going out is to any kind of sporting event, with 27% enjoying this, compared to only 11% of women.

The most surprising result was playing bingo…only 5% of over 65s enjoy this as an activity, compared to 15% of 18 - 24 year olds. Perhaps bingo’s reputation as a favourite of the elderly needs reassessing, or maybe it’s just ‘unlucky for some’. 

Typically how many times do you take part in activities like these?


Overall, 59% of people partake in activities like these at least once a month, but this does change generationally, with 67% of 18 - 24 year olds enjoying activities at least once a month, compared to 51% of over 65s. In fact, 20% of over 65s enjoy activities twice a year or less. Maybe that’s why they have more money to go on holiday with!

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