Booking bonanza as visitors head online

Crowds on Blackpool beach and promenade
Crowds on Blackpool beach and promenade
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Blackpool was today named the UK’s most popular beach destination by one of the world’s leading online travel providers, with bookings up 76 per cent compared to last year.

Research by Expedia put Blackpool ahead of rival seaside towns including Brighton and Bournemouth when it came to bookings for September and October.

The resort is in first place in the Top 10 most popular UK beach destinations based on bookings made on Expedia in the last 90 days, while bookings for September and October are up 76 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Andy Washington, managing director of Expedia UK and Ireland, said: “September has seen the UK enjoy an unseasonably long stretch of warm weather and with this, a desire to make the most of our great British seaside.

“Usually this time of year sees a shift away from beach to city-break destinations, but this year UK beach destinations like Blackpool are still among the top 10 UK cities booked on”

The company said it could not reveal the number of people who had booked holidays in Blackpool through its website.

Hoteliers’ leader Claire Smith said the figures reflected what had been a better season for many businesses.

She said: “This has most definitely been one of the best seasons we have had in a few years, but that’s not to say we are out of the woods yet.

“However I think the figures also reflect the fact a lot more people book online now.

“It also reflects the econony is easing a little bit, Blackpool is doing a brilliant job advertising itself and we offer brilliant value for money.

“The only downside to this is when people book through websites like Expedia, hotels have to pay more on commission which bites into the amount of profit they are making.”

This year saw Blackpool Council and attractions operator Merlin team up to fund a £1m campaign, dubbed ‘Blackpool’s Back’, including a TV advert which was screened earlier this summer.

The musical Mamma Mia! was seen by more than 100,000 over the summer, while the Illuminations Switch-On drew around 20,000 people. This year the Lights will run for 10 weeks until November 9.