Increased spend, longer booking times and the rise of the “mini moon” are trends highlighted by Kuoni in its latest Honeymoons Report.
Kuoni’s 2021 Honeymoons Report found average spend per booking had risen by more than £500 since 2019 to £8,247. There has also been a sharp increase in lead-in time since 2019, with bookings now made an average 497 days before departure, compared with 354 last year.
The operator said: “While this reflects people rebooking due to cancelled plans this year, the team at Kuoni are also getting honeymoon enquiries for 2022 and even 2023.”
Stacey Owens, a Kuoni honeymoon expert said: “I’ve seen a theme emerge – now that there’s an extra year to save, they have the opportunity to make their plans that little bit more special by upgrading the flights, arranging a helicopter flight instead of a car transfer so they can arrive in style, changing their room type to a villa with private pool or extending their honeymoon by a few days.”
Owens said social distancing was important to clients when booking accommodation, with “wide open spaces in Africa” in high demand. The report also said requests for private villas “has never been higher”.
The Maldives remains the operator’s top honeymoon destination, accounting for more than half of all Kuoni honeymoon bookings. The operator said pool villas were one of the main reasons for its popularity. It is followed by Sri Lanka – often combined with the Maldives - and in third place, Mauritius.
Further down the list in seventh place is Bali, despite having no direct UK flight link. However, Kuoni said: “Couples with summer weddings are frequently drawn to Bali because the weather is at its best in July and August.”
Also making the top 10 are Kenya and Tanzania as a twin centre, South Africa, Thailand and the Seychelles.
The list of destinations is based on forward bookings for next year, including rebookings and contains two European countries, Italy in sixth place and Greece in ninth. These two countries head the list of “mini-moon” destinations, followed by Spain, England and Scotland and Ireland, which are serving as a prequel to the full honeymoon during the pandemic.
The report said: “Following news that the FCO travel advice and quarantine measures were dropped for some safe “corridors”, interest grew over the summer for short, later breaks in Europe as some couples were finally able to marry with smaller, socially distanced ceremonies. Those couples welcomed a chance to have a break straight after the wedding.”
It said Santorini had been a top choice, but Ravello on Italy’s Amalfi coast was a frequent request and Croatia was “also one to watch”.
Kuoni chief executive Derek Jones said the operator had booked “all sorts of last minute trips closer to home: “This has been an emotional time for a lot of couples and behind the scenes our team have moved mountains to help couples change their plans, recreating complex itineraries for new dates next year or even the year after.
“We’ve helped change honeymoon plans for doctors, nurses and key workers and our flexible approach has been welcomed at a really stressful time.”