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Over half of Brits will book late for summer 09

Over half of Brits will book their 2009 summer holiday at the last minute, according to a specialist travel and leisure marketing agency.

The independent quarterly study, commissioned by BLM Horizon, found 54% of customers will book in April or later.

The number of customers who plan to book their holiday late has jumped by 14% since the same survey was done in September 2008.

Chris Armond, BLM Horizon business director, said: “The effects of the recession combined with the collapse of several airlines and the travel giant XL means consumers are more reluctant to commit in advance to big purchases such as holidays, although they still intend to take a holiday.

“Travel companies that offer protection and inclusive deals may benefit at the expense of those who don’t. Holiday-bookers may also be anticipating further last minute price cuts and are holding off for late deals.

“However, well-publicised reductions in capacity by the main tour operators mean that such deals may not materialise. Travel providers will have to weigh the risks of securing early bookings and investing in the strong consumer intent-to-purchase closer to the summertime.”

The survey also found that:

- 40% of holidaymakers state they will spend less on their holiday plans - an increase of 12% since September.

- 27% will save money by cutting the length of their holiday, 45% by booking cheaper destinations and 43% by choosing all-inclusive deals (43%).

- 70% of British holidaymakers will take the same (or more) holidays this year, down from 83% in September

- 19% state they will take less holidays this year (an increase of 11% since September) and 7% will not holiday abroad in 2009.

The survey was based on 1,000 survey respondents, a mix of package and independent holidaymakers, who travelled during 2008.

BLM Horizon clients include Thomas Cook, Warner Leisure Hotels, Innovation Norway, Tourism Montréal and Kew Gardens.

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