In the traditionally busy sales period of January and February, people from the West Midlands are running the risk of missing out on holiday deals, such as low deposits, big discounts and free child places. New research by ABTA, The Travel Association, has shown that people in the West Midlands are less likely than the rest of the country to book holidays early. Only 20% of people booked earlier in 2015 than they did the previous year, compared to 29% nationally. The top three reasons cited by people in the West Midlands for booking early are:

·         Cheaper prices/better deals (52%)

·         More chance of availability (28%)

·         Better choice (26%).

Tried and trusted destinations including Spain, Portugal, the Caribbean and the US, are already performing extremely well and holidaymakers are being encouraged to book early to make sure they can get the holiday they want. ABTA’s most recent Holiday Habits reportfound that 55% of those in the West Midlands are planning to take a beach break this year, while 54% are planning a city break.

The national early booking trend is being driven by young people (16-24 year olds) and families with children under 5, with 42% and 37% respectively booking further in advance in the past 12 months than in previous years.

As the travel industry launches some of its best deals, early bookers can also take advantage of discounted rates and low deposits, which means easier budget planning throughout the year, as well as free child places offering a great deal for families. With unsettled weather predicted until the end of January, having something to look forward to in the cold winter months is another advantage of booking now.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Early bookers are able to take advantage of a range of benefits and discounts, so we hope that customers in the West Midlands will make the most of these. These benefits are even more pronounced for families, where availability of child places for the summer months can fill up quickly.”

ABTA’s top reasons to book early:

  • Cheaper prices - January and February is the traditional sales season for travel companies and it’s at this time that they put out their best deals with potential savings of hundreds of pounds
  • Free child places - Tour operators will typically offer a limited number of free child places in January and February, if you leave it too late to book, these are likely to run out
  • Lots of choice - Booking early means that you have a wide range of options as to where and when to go, leaving it late may drastically reduce these options
  • Supply and demand - Remember it’s not just British tourists who are all looking forward to their summer holiday but millions of tourists from other countries too. That puts competitive pressure on hotel rooms and flights, and there’s a limited supply of both
  • Buy now, pay later - If you book a package holiday for the summer you will only initially have to pay a deposit with the balance not due until later in the year. This will help your finances under pressure after Christmas and give you a chance to budget effectively
  • Something to look forward to - The January Blues will be a lot more bearable when you’re counting down the days to your dream holiday
  • Pre booking flight seats - Many airlines now offer the option to pre-book your seats on the aircraft but it’s very much first come first served, so early bookers get priority.
  • Popular destinations and accommodation - Popular destinations and hotels around the world and in the UK will sell early