British holidaymakers choosing to take their breaks in the UK are paying far in excess for their trips with some spending as much as 46% more than necessary, research shows.
Analysis by Independent Cottages found, on average, booking a holiday home direct with the owner saves around 22% of the cost when compared with booking through an online travel agent (OTA) such as Airbnb, HolidayLettings, Tripadvisor or HomeAway.
The average saving works out at £211 per booking.
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Those holidaying in Norfolk face the biggest fees on average, paying a quarter (24%) or £244 more for a stay in a holiday cottage when booking through an OTA, compared with booking directly.
Holiday properties in the New Forest and Lake District are next highest, at 23% more expensive, or £259 and £211 respectively.
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Other expensive spots to book are Yorkshire at 22% (£146), Cornwall at 21% (£222) and the Cotswolds at 17% (£184).
However, in one extreme example, a property in the New Forest comes with a 46% or £1,358 saving when booking directly. It is priced at £1,600 on the owner’s website. For the same dates with an OTA, it is priced at £2,958.
Sarah Jarvis, owner of Independent Cottages, said: “We always knew that compared to an online travel agent, holiday-makers save money when booking direct, but until we carried out the research we had no idea just how much.
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“At a time of watching the pennies and not knowing what’s ahead in the coming months, we were shocked when we realised just how big the savings could be,” she added.
“The average saving of £211 could be a couple’s spending money for a weekend or a family’s day out. It seems like a no-brainer to go direct and have more pennies in your purse.”