Travel Insight

How do people choose their holiday?

What makes you choose one destination over another, book online instead of using a travel agent or decide on a private villa over an all-inclusive hotel?

In the age of the internet, the way we shop for and research our holidays has forever changed. We are now more aware of what the best deals are, which corners are worth cutting and what our best travel options are.

Barceló Travel Insights has been created as a research tool for those within the hospitality industry to better understand these changes.

We surveyed 1,000 people about their holiday habits: how they shopped, what was most important to them and why they decided on the holiday they did in the hope of getting a better insight into how people choose the type of holiday they go on.

Research & Motives

We wanted to discover the major determining factors people looked at when researching their holidays.

What is most important when looking to book – local food? Travel times? Type of accommodation? Or does it all come down to cost?

We also wanted to see how the public carried out this research, whether through review sites, traditional travel agents or even social media.

How do you research your holiday?

Review sites are the most popular way to research holidays across all age groups and genders

25-35 year olds are more likely than older generations to use review sites and social media to research their holiday.

As are women, who are more likely to use review sites and social media to research their holiday, more so than men.

How do you book your holiday?

25-35 year olds are more likely to book online than older age groups. Whereas people aged 46-55 much prefer to book directly with the hotel.

Women prefer to book their holiday directly with the hotel, whilst 12% of men have no preference as to how they book their holiday.

Which factors are the most important when choosing where to go?

The weather, and the overall cost of a holiday are the most important factors for the majority of people when choosing where to go.

Women are more concerned than men whether there are things to do nearby and if there is a kids club.

25-35 year olds are more concerned about the local nightlife and less concerned with travel time unlike people aged 46-55 who are more concerned with travel time and safety while they're away.


Online research and the weather are key factors when choosing a holiday.

Review sites are the most popular source of information across all ages and genders. Word of mouth and the opinion of friends and family is also very important.

Aggregators like TripAdvisor are considered a more reliable resource than the traditional travel agent.

When it comes to touching down on foreign soil, the weather is easily the most important factor for everyone. Things to do and the overall cost of the holiday are close behind, whereas people are less concerned about nightlife, local events and sporting activities in the area.

Spending Habits

How much is too much for a holiday, and how much are holiday goers willing to splash out to get away from it all?

The following graphs show the differences in spending habits across age and gender when considering three holiday types: a main holiday, a weekend away and an overnight stay in a hotel.

How much would you be willing to pay for your accommodation on your main holiday?

The majority of people in the UK are happy to spend £51-75 despite their age or gender. Whilst those who are 46-55 years old are more likely to spend more than younger generations, with 10% willing to spend £501 per night.

In terms of gender, there is little deviation between attitudes.

How much would you spend on your main holiday?

Women are more likely than men to spend over £1000 on their holiday with the majority of men willing to spend £751 - £1000.

On average, 46-55 year olds are willing to spend more than other age groups. 25-35 year olds spend a fair amount of money until they reach +£1000 when a lot less are willing to spend more than £1000 in comparison to their older counter-parts.

How much would you spend on accommodation for a short break?

Here, the majority of men and women across all age groups were most happy to spend between £76-£100.

Women are more concerned about the overall cost of the holiday than men.

People aged 46-55 are the biggest spenders as they are the most likely age group to spend £200+ on accommodation for a short break.


There is little difference between men and women in terms of how much they would spend on accommodation whilst their away, however, women tend to spend more on the overall holiday.

46-55 year olds spend a lot more money on their accommodation and the overall holiday than the younger generations, as do the majority of 36-45 year olds who spend £1000+

Attitudes & Influencers

There’s never been more choice for holiday makers in terms of where to stay and what type of accommodation to stay in.

So what really influences holiday makers to choose the holidays they do? Why do some people prefer to stay in villas than hotels, and are villas and apartment rental sites starting to overtake traditional resort holidays?

What is the most important factor behind booking a holiday?

The number one factor behind booking a holiday is price across all age ranges, closely followed by the weather and online reviews.

Women consider online reviews more important than men whilst people aged 46-55 consider accommodation and travel time a lot more important than younger generations.

Why choose an apartment over a hotel?

The majority of respondents, regardless of age or gender, would choose an apartment over a hotel because they prefer having their own space. 46-55 year olds find an apartment a lot more relaxing than younger generations and enjoy having a home from home.

Although there is little difference between men and women when choosing an apartment over a hotel, women prefer having their own space and would rather be able to do their own thing when it comes to food more so than men.

Why choose a hotel over an apartment?

The biggest appeal of hotels overall is not having to organise food.

A lot of people prefer to stay in a hotel because they prefer to not have to clean up every day, particularly those aged 46-55.

It appears women are more sociable than men, as 10% of women prefer a hotel because there is always people around, whilst very few people, regardless of their age or gender, choose a hotel to make use of the discounts to local tourist attractions.

Are you more or less likely to stay in a private rental now compared to five years ago?

The majority of people have not changed their minds about private rentals compared to five years ago. Women are, however, now more likely to choose a private rental than men. As are 25-35 year olds who are now more likely to choose a villa than any other age group than they were 5 years ago.


It seems that people aged 46-55 have always been fairly keen on private rentals, because it feels like a home from home. They find private apartments more relaxing and appreciate having their own space more so than younger generations.

There is little difference between men and women when choosing a private apartment or a hotel, yet women are a lot more appreciative of not having to think about food, and not having to clean up every day when staying in a hotel.

Regional Differences

Where you’re from can have a huge impact on how you want to spend your holiday, with social and economic factors playing a part.

But what does your location actually say about your holiday habits?

  • Lower Price
  • Better Location
  • Bigger Room
South12% South10% South16% West23% West13% West13% East17% East10% Central9% Central17% North16% North9% North9%

What could convince you to choose a hotel over a private villa?

People in the UK like to get value for their money as the majority of people across all regions would choose a hotel over a private villa for a better price.

A better location was another strong influence that could convince people to choose a hotel, particularly for those in the West.

  • Main Holiday
  • Short Breaks
  • Both
North35% North23% North38% Central33% Central35% Central27% East34% East31% East31% West31% West14% West46% South31% South26% South37%

Do you usually have one big holiday, or prefer several short breaks?

The UK is a country of holiday lovers. The majority of people enjoy one main holiday and the occasional short break across all regions.

A lot less people choose to have several short breaks throughout the year, particularly in the West where only 14% of people go away for short breaks throughout the year without enjoying one main holiday.

  • 5-7 days
  • 8-10 days
  • 11-14 days
North37% North25% North28% Central36% Central25% Central27% East42% East21% East21% West37% West20% West23% South35% South33% South21%

On average, how long is your main holiday of the year?

Most people in the UK go on holiday for 5-7 days a year, particularly in the East. People in the South, however, are luckier than some, as 33% of people go away for 11-14 days.

  • Price
  • Reviews
  • Weather
North71% North65% North60% Central74% Central58% Central53% West76% West56% West62% East72% East59% East52% South64% South59% South58%

What are the important factors when booking a holiday?

For the majority of people, price is the most important factor when booking a holiday. Reviews are a close second, particularly for people in the North. Whereas, people don't seem to be as fussed about the weather when booking a holiday, possibly, because people can't guarantee nice weather if they are booking a holiday a few months in advance.


The overall picture painted from the survey is one of changing habits in the youngest generation of holiday-going Brits. We’re well and truly in the age of the internet now, and the younger generation surveyed were more likely to carry out online research than their older counterparts – with women in particular looking to social media for inspiration.

Brits are a trusting lot, with many happy to rely on review sites when checking out where to stay. When it comes to research, women are more conscientious of most factors than man, and the weather continues to be our chief concern. No surprise there, then.

46-55 years olds are the biggest spenders whilst they're away, both on accommodation and the overall cost of the holiday, but we don't blame them, they've earned it! 25-35 year olds manage to keep up with the older generations spending habits until they reach their limit as a lot less 25-35 year olds spend over £1000 in comparison to their older counter-parts.

Attitudes towards private rentals have only slightly changed in the past five years, with the majority of people feeling 'about the same' when considering a private rental. People aged 46-55 are the fondest of apartments as they find them more relaxing and prefer having their own space. They prefer their creature comforts as 46-55 year olds are more appreciative of an apartment feeling like a home from more so than other generations, whereas for 25-35, this is a lot less important, instead they much prefer the novelty of staying in a hotel than older generations.