Revealed: Why it’s worth haggling for your summer holidays

New Which? research has revealed that haggling with a high street travel agent could cut up to 25% off your holiday cost and in some cases work out cheaper than booking online.

We visited 48 high street travel agents, made up of branches of The Co-operative Travel, Thomas Cook, Thomson and a selection of independents, and haggled for week long holidays to Florida and Mallorca for a family of four. We asked for money off, free extras and an improved rate of exchange on foreign currency.

We found there was almost a nine in ten (87%) chance that haggling could be beneficial. 38 high street agents, that were able to sell us a holiday filling our criteria, were able to knock money off the total price. The most we secured was a 25% discount, saving £736, while the overall average in-store price reduction was £191 (6%).

We also managed to get free extras such as airport parking, child places or visitor attraction tickets in 17 of the visits. And, of the 28 agents that sold holiday money, 13 were able to give us an improved rate of exchange.

We found haggling in-store for price reductions on summer holidays had a higher success rate than on the phone. While the in-store success rate in our investigation was 83%, this dropped to 49% when we haggled over the phone and the average saving went down from £191 to £150.

While the cheapest prices do tend to be online, of the 53 holidays available on the web we were able to beat the online price in 15 of our haggles and matched the price in five cases.

Which? editor Richard Headland, said:

“Eight in ten people don’t haggle over the cost of holidays, yet we found it could save you hundreds of pounds off your holiday. It’s well worth giving it a go.”

Which?’s top tips to a successful haggle:

  • Tell the agent you want the holiday but that it’s at the top of your budget so can they offer you a deal;

  • Ask them if they can offer you a reduction for paying in full there and then;

  • Ask them if they can throw in anything extra.

Notes to editors:

1. In October 2013, we visited 48 high street travel agents made up of branches of Thomas Cook, The Co-operative Travel, Thomson and some independents. We haggled for the price of a week long summer holiday to Florida and Majorca in the second week of the August school holidays.

2. We also made 48 phone calls to Co-op travel, Thomas Cook, Thomson and a selection of independent travel agents and repeated our summer holiday haggles. And during the phone calls we also haggled for last minute holidays for the October 2013 school half-term to Majorca and Florida.

3. Finally we compared the haggled prices we’d received in-store and on the phone with the same holidays online to compare the price.

4. We also asked 1,200 Which? members if they had haggled for holidays before.

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