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02 September 2004

More than 30% of British travellers who have booked an independent holiday, ie self-booked flights, accommodation, transfers, etc, have experienced problems – and higher-than-expected costs is the number one consumer gripe according to research issued today.

The Leger Holidays study showed hidden costs was the main concern for 16.8% of travellers, while holiday disruption forcing travellers to resolve problems themselves was the second biggest complaint for 13.9% of people.

The difficulty and stress of self-booking a holiday was a concern (6.5%), as was feeling isolated without a travel rep (5.1%). Meanwhile, incredibly, a further 6% felt that making an independent booking was so stressful they needed a holiday when they returned home!

Ian Henry, managing director of Rotherham-based Leger Holidays, one of the UK’s leading European coach holiday operators, said:

“Many of us who have made independent bookings have probably done so in the hope of getting a bargain. However, both the research and personal experience tells us that, although there are undoubtedly some bargains out there, to get exactly what you want, in the long run, tends to end up costing more than we expected.

“What’s more, travellers are telling us that having to pin together all aspects of a trip, from the transport, parking and accommodation, to transfers and excursions, is a real chore – so much so that some need a holiday to recover!”

As a possible backlash to independent travel, 53.8% of those surveyed said that they would definitely consider a holiday where all their travel, accommodation, guides and excursions were arranged and booked on their behalf.

More interestingly, the days when a holiday just meant rest and recuperation seem long gone – 77.8% agreed that they would like their break to combine relaxation with culture so that they returned home a little more knowledgeable.

The research highlighted some interesting regional statistics. Less than one-third (30.8%) of people in the North of England/Borders have taken an independent holiday compared to the national average of 50%. The figure is highest in the London region where 68.2% have made their own travel arrangements.

The region which most wanted to combine relaxation with culture on holiday was Scotland (58%) and the least likely was the North/Borders (35.8%). The national average was 43.9%.

The Leger Holidays fieldwork research was independently conducted and questioned 1,000 adults across the UK.

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Adrian Johnson or Sam Potter
PR – Poulter Partners
(T) 0113 285 6428 or 0113 285 6488
adrian.johnson@poultergroup.com or sam.potter@poultergroup.com

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