Following another busy year at StagWeb & our sister platform for hen parties, GoHen.com, the infographic above gives a snapshot of what last year's groups we're up to. 2013 was our 11th year and our increased tech investment over the last 12 months allows us to keep up to date more than ever with client preferences. Our bespoke BMS system enables real-time reporting on key factors in stag and hen patterns, from booking schedules to average group sizes to booking schedules to in-destination preferences.
You'll see the obvious differences between stag and hen selections, as you'd expect little crossover in activities but there is some 2013 crossover in destinations. For example in the UK it's the trio of London, Newcastle and Bristol appearing in both top 5s. In Europe it's 3 of the top 5 again with Prague, Dublin and Galway high on the list of preferred party locations.
Group size continues to inch forward year on year with the stags pipping the hens with slightly bigger groups on average, however figures stated are an average over 12 months and it's not to say there aren't some huge hen groups throughout the year – there are! The biggest stag group we did last year was 63 lads and the biggest hen party was 45 ladies.
Group sizes have steadily got bigger over with 2013 running at an average of just over 15. It’s slightly less for European trips (14.7) and slightly more for the UK (15.3).
We’ve seen a return to higher volumes for international travel. This is almost certainly influenced by slightly improving economic factors but also because groups can quite simply get some amazing deals (aswell as some welcome sun!). With the right flights, and booking them far enough in advance, an international weekend really doesn’t have to blow the budget these days. There’s an increasing appetite for adventure and getting value out of the pre-wedding party, so even though international stags and hens are seemingly on the rise again the weekends have to deliver for a sensible budget. There's also an appetite for new experiences, our recently added destinations like Berlin and Reykjavik have been popular additions and we look forward to adding more throughout 2014.
Paintball continues to be a staple for a lot of stag weekends, its enduring popularity down to both great value and a group inclusive, hands-on activity. Sporting events are increasingly popular in supplementing itineraries the 4 biggest being horse racing, premiership rugby, football and cricket. In total we listed 219 stag activities in 2013. For the ladies cocktail mixing and dance classes lead the field with life drawing catching up fast. Spas are always popular, especially for the morning after but we haven’t included them in the list as there are volume variations between spa passes and actual treatments. In total we listed 223 hen activities in 2013.
Despite economic conditions encouraging people to seek out value, from a travel finance point of view the 25-35 year old audience remain largely unconcerned / unaware of the implications of financial protection. For the most part consumers also don’t consider financial assessment (eg of services or venues) or the implications of booking directly with suppliers outside of the UK, such as lack of effective protection, as part of the organisational process. Notwithstanding we remain committed to offering the highest levels of professionalism and financial protection and remain the longest serving fully ABTA bonded specialist in this market. We’ll be the longest serving ABTA bonded specialist this year at 9 years.
In terms of cancellations, pregnant hens, cancelled weddings and failing to get everyone to respond in time continue to be the leading causes.
Fancy dress remains popular and massively varied with Hawaiian shirts and superheroes taking the top two spots for the boys, however pirates were also popular with drag and mankinis standing firm in groom humiliation. For the hens the top two are St Trinians and the Pink Ladies, and you won’t go into many city centres on a Saturday night on the UK and not see a few sashes and the old L plates.