How has booking changed for UK holidaymakers?

As an online holiday website, we have seen first-hand how holidaymakers are increasingly completing their whole holiday booking online. Throughout the process from inspiration to research and booking to reviews, the journey is now dominated by the internet.

A holiday habits report by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) revealed that more than 75% of UK consumers book their holidays online.  

We all know the way that we book a holiday has changed but why is that? We enlisted the help of a company who offer dog friendly cottages to better understand our holiday booking habits.

Holidays of the past

Travelling for pleasure was pioneered by the Romans and we have been following in their footsteps ever since. Romans were the first civilisation to travel for pleasure, with some breaks for the very wealthy lasting up to two years at a time! Following the decline of the Roman empire, the concept of a leisure holiday changed. Due to political and economic circumstances, the Dark Ages were are a time where only royalty had the opportunity to travel. 

The late 19th Century saw the rise of the Industrial Revolution with a huge swell of socio-economic changes in the UK. One of the most notable when it comes to travel is the introduction of the first bank holiday. This 1871 move allowed the working class to jump on a steam train and head to the beach for a long weekend, enjoying donkey rides, ice cream and building sandcastles on the beaches of the UK.

Fast-forward 150 years, through the mass production of cars, the rise and fall of the British holiday camp, and the birth of the package holiday, and here we are, exploring all parts of the world. And it isn’t just the style or destination of the holidays that we take that has changed — how we book them has, too.


Holidaymakers are no longer restricted to a thin brochure of places to go and stay. There are now agents and guides that will give you the chance to visit every corner of the world and engage in any sort of holiday you wish!  No longer are people limited to hotels or apartments in a single agent’s portfolio, online you can find, compare, book, and pay for a coastal cottage or luxury city apartment with just the touch of a few buttons.    

Greater independence

Digital platforms have given consumers greater independence to plan holidays their way. Now there is no need to rely on organised excursions once we arrive, rather, we read blogs and reviews from fellow travellers, follow social media influencers and arrange our own transport and tours via local guides to explore hidden gems off the beaten track and quench our thirst for discovery.  


Booking online also saves aspiring travellers’ time. No longer do you have to spend a Saturday afternoon in a travel agents’ queue, trawling teletext or checking availability over the phone. People can book from the comfort of their home or even out and about, day or night. The internet doesn’t close at 5pm so the travel shop is always open for customers!


Digital developments have also revolutionised the way we pay for our holidays. While paying securely is a standard feature of all booking sites, many have the functionality for customers to input discount codes which result in a specific percentage coming off the full amount — a pleasant surprise no matter how much or little you might be forking out! Plenty of sites also allow consumers to give the gift of a holiday to their loved ones, providing e-vouchers which, just like discount codes, are redeemable at the check-out stage of a booking.

We will continue to see developments in the holiday booking experience in years to come. It isn’t far-fetched to envisage the chance to see your hotel room before you book through the advancements of virtual reality! However this industry develops, we will be at the forefront to give you the best booking experience on the market. 

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