The ‘lates’ market in travel is upon us, with millions of customers scouring the internet for the very best 2018 holiday deals.

To help ensure your brand is making the most of this key booking time, we’ve created a breakdown of what it is and how to make the best of it.

What is the ‘lates’ market?

It is a recently coined phenomenon, which refers to a surge in last-minute holiday bookings made between June and August.

It involves consumers looking to secure a great deal by booking closer to departure. Or, alternatively, it is the result of a lack of planning or just a last-minute decision to go on holiday.

In fact, Google recently reported a 150% rise in travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” since June 2015, demonstrating a clear rise in the number of people leaving their getaways to the very last minute.

The impact:

Looking at Hitwise data, travel website traffic in June, July and August increased by 8.7% year-on-year in 2016 and again by a staggering 30.4% in 2017.

A key part of understanding this trend comes with recognising the shift of power from brands to consumers that has taken place in the last few years. With consumers now able to find multiple travel companies offering great deals with a simple Google search, they have much more control over when they book and who they book with. Hence, travel brands must recognise this shift in behavioural trends and incorporate it into their marketing strategies.

So, if you’re looking to build a robust marketing plan, there are several steps you can take to make sure you carefully consider and successfully capture the ‘lates’ market:

1. Analyse the seasonality of key travel search terms:

In a proliferated digital world, the way that consumers search for what they want is constantly changing, especially in the travel sector.

By constantly studying key search terms that directly relate to your business, you can quickly identify any research spikes and understand if the time period between “searching” and “booking” is increasing or decreasing.

2. Take a closer look at wider spending patterns:

Another great way to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the ‘lates’ market is by assessing competitor spend. Who is spending what, when and where - this information will allow you to put the right products at the right prices in front of the right people.

3. Incorporate mobile:

It’s no secret that travel consumers depend on their mobiles to access information and engage with brands on the go. In fact, recent data has shown that up to 80% of last-minute bookings are made on mobile devices.

To capitalise on this, it is imperative that all your ‘lates’ marketing activity is mobile-friendly. Consider ad formats, access to information and overall user experience - as Google data shows that 55% of consumers will switch websites if underwhelmed by the information available or unable to book easily.

4. Identify (and understand) your audience:

Recent surveys conducted by YouGov show that there are distinct factors that differentiate last-minute bookers from the rest of the holiday market. For example, perhaps unsurprisingly, they are more likely to say they don’t mind taking risks with their money and are more likely to make impulsive purchases.

They are also more open to inspirational reviews, with over 4 in 10 persuaded to book by newspaper and magazine travel articles.

Plus, research shows that Londoners are most likely to leave booking to the last minute, offering a wealth of opportunity for digital geo-targeting and tactical outdoor placements.

5. Take an “always-on” approach:

Each time a customer chooses your brand, it’s a finely-tuned combination of marketing influence, long-term business investment and consumer insight.

So, you need to make sure your brand is front of mind when consumers are looking for 11th hour deals. Through “always-on” investment - using visually emotive channels like OOH, TV and video - you can build your brand identity and carve a place for yourself within an increasingly competitive landscape.


Accord is an award-winning marketing agency with almost 30 years’ experience in travel and tourism. By combining audience profiling and media know-how, we help our clients to grow by devising, designing and delivering campaigns that build brands, engage audiences and increase sale. To find out more about how we can help your brand take full advantage of the ‘lates’ market, please contact our expert travel team today.