With time and money precious as Christmas approaches, British travelers are still looking to get away for winter vacations but are seeking to maximize...

With time and money precious as Christmas approaches, British travelers are still looking to get away for winter vacations but are seeking to maximize their holidays and minimize their costs by booking eight- and nine-night breaks, a study by Monarch Holidays has found.

Over the past year, Monarch has seen a sharp increase in non-standard holiday durations in vacations taken by its customers. The company says it has seen substantial growth has in weekend breaks (three- and four-night durations). Meanwhile, bookings by its customers for eight- and nine-night durations grew 191 per cent and 124 per cent respectively this past summer.


Monarch says bookings of non-standard vacation durations are already showing massive growth of 1,200 per cent and 2,475 per cent respectively for summer 2010.

A shift in the accommodation basis being booked is also evident, with Monarch seeing strong growth in all-inclusive and self-catering holidays. Monarch Holidays’ bookings for all-inclusive holidays rose 26.5 per cent in summer 2009 and are already up 27.3 per cent for summer 2010. The company’s self-catering bookings are following a similar pattern, up 24 per cent and 14.7 per cent for summer 2009 and summer 2010 respectively.

British carrier Monarch Airlines operates a mixed Airbus-and-Boeing fleet which includes a sizable number of Airbus A321s, as well as A330-200s and other Airbus jets

British carrier Monarch Airlines operates a mixed Airbus-and-Boeing fleet which includes some 16 Airbus A321s, as well as two A330-200s, five A320s, four A300-600Rs, a Boeing 767-300ER and three Boeing 757s. Monarch Airlines also has six Boeing 787s on order

“We have spent a good deal of time understanding the changing booking profiles of Monarch customers and what they are looking for from their holidays,” says Liz Savage, managing director of Monarch Flights and Holidays. “The great news is that people are still looking to get away. A recent poll on monarch.co.uk revealed that 70 per cent of customers are planning a winter sun break this year, with a further 11 per cent confirming they are planning a ski holiday. Only 19 per cent of those surveyed stated that they would not be going away this winter.”

(The poll, which ran between September 7 and September 21 and asked visitors to the site if they were planning a winter holiday this year, drew 1,002 respondents.)

Savage continues: “The changing holiday durations and board basis is a clear sign that traveling habits are changing and customers are managing their time and budgets more effectively. Eight- and nine-night holiday durations enable holiday makers to take only five days’ leave from work and incorporate two weekends into their time away, meaning the maximum time away for a minimal time off work.

She adds: “The attraction of all-inclusive holidays is mainly due to the decreasing value of the pound and families looking to lock their costs in prior to travel. We are also seeing a huge increase in holidays being taken outside of the Eurozone, particularly Egypt, where 90 per cent of all holidays booked are on an all-inclusive basis.”

Monarch Holidays’ sister company Monarch Airlines operates scheduled and charter flights from a number of UK airports, including Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester. Scheduled flights operate to destinations throughout Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Gibraltar, whilst charter services operate worldwide.

In addition to cheap flights, Monarch also now offers a huge range of value holidays to many destinations including Lapland, as well as accommodation options, car hire and travel insurance, all of which can be booked via www.monarch.co.uk.