It might sound surprising but mystery travel provider Sprs Me says that bookings to unknown destinations are on the rise. Jenny Southan reports
Globetrender first wrote about the trend for “mystery travel” back in 2017 but although Qantas began offering flights to mystery destinations in 2021, the trend never seemed to enter the mainstream. Of course, this was not helped by the pandemic, which created more than enough uncertainty for travellers.
That said, Sprs Me has revealed that it saw bookings increase 57 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020. It has also reported that travellers are willing to spend more on mystery travel than ever before, with an average holiday spend of £532.
How does Sprs Me work? In-house travel experts book the whole trip for customers, including transport and accommodation, although the destination (which will be in Europe) remains unknown until two hours before departure.
Travellers can set certain criteria for the trip such as the standard of hotel they will be staying in and the number of days they want to be away. Certain cities can also be excluded. Road trips are also available.
All of the trip’s details are accessible in the Sprs Me app, including the weather forecast and Covid-19 travel regulations.This year, it says Brits are booking mystery summer holidays further in advance, up to eight months earlier compared to 2019. About a third of Brits are also willing to pay extra for flexible rebooking in the event that their trip has to be postponed.
Like many travel providers wanting to offer flexibility to customers during these uncertain times, in September 2020 the company introduced Flexible Rebooking, allowing travellers to rebook their trip without any costs up to seven days before departure.
On average, 34 per cent of UK travellers added Flexible Rebooking to their trip, which was significantly more than Dutch travellers (15 per cent) and Belgian travellers (20 per cent).
Sprs Me says: “Over the past two years, it’s been nigh-on impossible to pick a destination and fly out without spending hours checking rules or having something cancelled or altered due to the ever-changing travel restrictions.
“We handle all of the bookings, logistics, and monitoring of travel regulations for their customers, so travellers simply have to pack a bag and have fun.”
Gifting a mystery trip is also become a trend. Sprs Me says that in the final months of 2021, Brits spent on average of £164 on vouchers, compared to just £84 in 2019 (a 94 per cent increase).