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School Holiday Price Hikes: Families exploited by unfair system

UK holiday companies are renowned for raising prices in school holiday periods. Significantly raising prices during these times allows prices to remain low for the rest of the year. As such, while certain consumers bear the brunt of this with prices rising by as much as 115%, others can reap the benefits.

The travel industry in the UK is intensely competitive. The traditional model of a high-street operator selling holidays face-to-face at a heavily marked up price is no longer feasible. The surge of online travel companies offering package holidays at discount prices has put competitors in the industry under increasing pressure. What’s more, the advent of price comparison websites has further contributed to competition and the driving down of holiday prices. Consumers without school-aged children can reap the benefits of this business model; travelling when it’s cheap. On the other hand, consumers with no option but to make travel arrangements in the school holidays are forced to face the heavy price hikes or forego a holiday altogether.

Many consumers with school-aged children have been seeking a solution to the price rises. With the law making travel during term-time difficult for families, some have called for changes to legislation, while a recent high profile case has shown how one father is actively fighting this legislation. Others have taken the view that they would face the potential fine for taking children on holiday when they should be in school. Some have called for holiday companies to have capped prices, while online media company, Travelzoo, has been actively campaigning for Air Passenger Duty (APD) to be suspended or reduced during school holidays.