Alive and kicking : Evaluating the overseas package holiday experience of grey consumers in the United Kingdom

Bridget Major, Fraser McLeay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


An overseas package holiday is a high-value purchase and a unique and complex service product with a fragmented experience, which can take place for several months or more. There is a gap in the experience literature on overseas package holidays, despite the fact that this industry generates approximately one third of all trips and expenditure in the United Kingdom. This article aims to increase the understanding of this service product and critically evaluate the consumer experience. The authors focus on ‘grey’ consumers who form a market segment that is growing in size and extremely important in the travel industry. However, it has been neglected in consumer behaviour literature that explores the experiential aspects of extended service encounters. Template analysis is used to identify six key categories that contribute to the package holiday experience of UK grey consumers holidaying in Tenerife. The six categories are the preholiday experience, travel and transit experience, self-made experience, provided experience, satisfaction, and loyalty. The grey market for package holidays is alive and kicking with many greys seeking fun, entertainment, enjoyment, and active participation in activities and meeting other guests. Undoubtedly, the Thomson Gold model, which disallows stays by those younger than 16 years, is highly suited to the needs of this market. The security and consumer protection offered by package holidays is highly important to these consumers who appear satisfied with the quality of their experience, which leads to exceptionally high levels of loyalty and repeat visits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-18
JournalJournal of Vacation Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


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