2019 Stag and Hen Industry Trends Report

How the pre-wedding bash is bigger than ever

Chillisauce is the world’s largest provider ofstagandhenparties. As we enter 2019, this report reflects on an interesting 2018 and showcases some of the top trends across the stag and hen segments of the travel and experiences industries.

Our booking data reveals that classic destinations remain wildly popular, while groups are expanding their horizons and bringing growth to new, non-traditional stag and hen activities. Read the full stag and hen industry trends report for lots more surprising insight, industry statistics and curious new trends across this diverse and ever changing sector.

Cocktail Making Group Revolution Brighton  - CHILLISAUCECocktail Making Group Revolution Brighton  - CHILLISAUCE
Karting North East Karting Experience track Newcastle - CHILLISAUCEKarting North East Karting Experience track Newcastle - CHILLISAUCE
Rubin Boats - River Cruise Budapest CHILLISAUCERubin Boats - River Cruise Budapest CHILLISAUCE

Q1 is the time to book

Industry Report - Search Trends upto 2019

Kick the year off with a plan

After the surge of proposals between Christmas and New Year popping up all over Facebook, there’s one thing on everyone’s mind - no, not New Year’s resolutions or Dry January...it’s all about the stag and hen do. Everyone’s already put it off for long enough, so the last two weeks of January and right through to March is the most popular time of year to finally get it organised. Of course, then comes Valentine’s Day and even more proposals…

Franks #2

May-hem! Bank holiday will be the biggest weekend

Before the wedding season takes off in the summer, the stag and hen season begins. In 2019, the first May bank holiday (3rd - 6th May 2019) will be the biggest weekend of the year with stag and hen groups from all over the UK partying in cities all over Europe. In 2018 it was the 4th-7th May and in 2017, the weekend of 26th-29th May.

Chillisauce staff, Budapest, Thermal Baths

Brexit-proof industry

The UK travel and tourism sector has never felt as much pressure as now. Brexit prolongs the chaos, but none of this seems to have a negative impact on the stag and hen industry which despite all odds continues to maintain a surprising amount of resilience.

Prince Harry and Meghan's Markle's Royal Wedding - 2018

Royal wedding fever grips the nation

Just as the dust settles from Will and Kate saying their nuptials, the country is swept away once more with Harry and Meghan fever, and yet again despite the distraction the stag and hen industry continues to thrive.

Gareth Southgate celebrates victory at end of the Round-16 Fifa World Cup Russia

...as does Gareth Southgate and his squad

Needless to say, we didn't change our plans for the world cup; watching the match in a beach bar with 14 of your mates beats watching it down the local.

Bookings are clearly up, but to where?

Industry Report - Where are groups going?

Which is more popular?

Stags are escaping the UK and heading abroad for all their stag do excitement with 57% of our stag groups choosing from over 30 cities in Europe as their party destination. Hens are staying much closer to home with 71% of our hen groups taking advantage of everything UK cities have to offer.

The UK is more popular for hens

Liverpool centre Albert DocksLiverpool centre Albert Docks
Brighton BeachBrighton Beach
Cardiff BayCardiff Bay
Industry Report - Top 10 UK Hen Destinations

Hen's are heading to Liverpool

2018 was a top year forLiverpool, as 20% of our hens flocked to this buzzing city for a wide range of activities, both classic and quirky.Brightonwas also a top choice with 18% of our hens, and it’s easy to see why with this vibrant seaside city known for its incredible nightlife and free spirit. Wales’s stylish capital,Cardiff, came in third at 11%, popular for its shopping districts, festivals and charm.

Marbella harbourMarbella harbour
Dublin - Creative Quarter - Dublin: the HighlightsDublin - Creative Quarter - Dublin: the Highlights
AlbufeiraAlbufeira
Industry Report - Top 10 European Hen Destinations

No carbs before Marbs

Hens loveMarbella, a city where you can expect glamorous luxury, exclusive nightlife and white sand beaches. That’s exactly why 15% of our travel-loving hens made it their number one choice in Europe. Ireland’s ownDublinfollowed with 14% with friendly locals, youthful energy and wild parties. Over in Portugal, 12% of hens choseAlbufeirafor sun, sand and the infamous Strip.

Europe is more popular for stags

Prague CityPrague City
Budapest Thermal BathsBudapest Thermal Baths
Benidorm beachBenidorm beach
Industry Report - Top 10 European Stag Destinations

Prague has come out on top

Pragueis the popular stag do favourite and practically a playground for stags with cheap pints, party-loving nightlife and tons of outdoor activities, so it’s no surprise it tops our list with 23% of our stags visiting last year.Budapest, again, is a well-known favourite attracting 19% of our stags with its famous and unique ruin bars, thermal spas and warm summers.Benidormcame in third for its notorious party atmosphere.

Millennium Bridge under Night Sky, Newcastle upon Tyne, UKMillennium Bridge under Night Sky, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Cardiff BayCardiff Bay
Bournemouth beachBournemouth beach
Industry Report - Top 10 UK Stag Locations

Stags are heading to Newcastle

In 2018, 15% of our stags headed toNewcastlefor its cheap beer and unrivalled atmosphere, choosing the party capital of the North for their stag weekend.Cardiffwas equally popular with its Welsh charm and thrilling watersports.Bournemouthisn’t too far behind either at 12%, perfect for thrilling, adrenaline-inducing activities and energetic nightlife.

What do these cities tell us about our groups?

Industry Report - Booziest Stag Locations

Boozy stags head up North

As for which city dons the booze-soaked crown? Unsurprisingly,Newcastletakes the top spot with our data for nightlife categories showing a firm majority heading up North. That doesn’t mean the other UK cities don’t love a good drink or two; trust us, they do and that means you’re in for a lively night out wherever you end up.

Industry Report - Booziest Hen Destinations

...and the hens drink down South

For hens, if you’re all about booze head toBrightonthe number one hedonistic, hen-friendly haven to visit. Plus,EdinburghandCardiffare popular for both stag and hen - so you know exactly where to go on a big night out. That's not to sayLondon,BournemouthorBristolis any more sensible. They're still in our top 10!

Where is the money going?

Industry Report -Spending Trends

Dinner or drinks?

When it comes to accommodation and activities, stags and hens spend pretty similar amounts. Where you really notice the difference is with meals and nightlife. Stags blow 7% more of their cash on boozy nights out, with activities likebar crawlsanddrinks packages, making up 13% of the total. Hens, however, show a preference for adelicious mealat a nice restaurant with that using up 7% of their total expense compared to stags’ at only 4%.

Industry Report - Where are groups staying?

Apartments are on the rise

In the last year, more and more hen and stag groups are choosing to spend slightly more to stay in apartments all together as a group - 15% up from 2017. The classic hotel option is still a firm favourite with 54% of our groups choosing this, but with apartments at 40% and hostel popularity slowly falling, will they soon lose that top spot?

Who is the more generous gender?

Industry Report - Who pays for the stag and hens place?

Are women more stingy than men?

Surprisingly, 89% of best men are happy to pay on behalf of their best mate. The maid of honour however, is much more likely to split the cost with the other girls with 63% choosing this option and only 16% generous enough to pay for the bride-to-be themselves. If you're the stag, congrats - you’ll most likely get away without paying a penny. The hen? Don’t be too surprised if you’re asked to pay your way.

Expected group size and costs

A happy stag group doing white water rafting

Average group size

How many people are you expecting for your stag or hen do? For stags, the average group size is 15.2, and for hens, it’s only slightly less at 13.8 and to us that sounds like a good crowd however to put this in perspective, our biggest ever stag do had 50 sun-seekers jetting off to Benidorm for £141pp each. Similarly, our biggest hen do sent 44 ladies to Bournemouth for £139pp.

Industry Report - Graph showing the change in per person spend - 2018 vs 2013 vs 2008

10 years later...how much?

Back in 2008, it was hens that typically spent more on their partying, costing £99 per person compared with stags’ £91. Fast forward to 2018 and stags are deciding to go all-out and splash out on their stag dos, jumping up to £169.80 per person, with hens slightly behind at £125.14 but still celebrating in style. With more activities on offer than ever before, it’s no surprise.

Unique experiences

Bounce Old Street Ping Pong

The rise in bars that have turned into experiences

With the launch of tons of exciting new concepts, bars are no longer just for drinking - they’re entire experiences. We’ve seen the popular trend of crazy golf cocktail bars like Swingers and Urban Golf popping up. Alongside those, there are other social activities that pair perfectly with drinking, like the revival of darts at Flight Club and Bounce’s Olympic ping pong tables.

Cave trampolining

Going the extra mile

For a truly unforgettable experience, you might have to travel a couple of hours off the beaten track. Thankfully, that’s just what stags and hens have been doing, with more people choosing this over missing out. Some have even travelled as far as 151 miles for cave trampolining, with other top activities likeZip Wire Velocity,Wipeout,canyoningandwhite water raftingattracting people from all over.

British Airways i360

The demand grows for a unique experience

People are looking for something different, something they can’t get anywhere else. That’s why there’s been a rise in unique, city-specific activities in the UK. From Brighton’s high-flyingi360 experiencesandBath’s thermal spasto Birmingham’s thrillingBear Grylls Adventureand London’s exclusiveTwizy Tours, there’s so much to choose from. There are several popular It’s a Knockout-style challenges that celebrate their region, like theWelsh GamesandWest Country Games.

Activity trends are also on the move

Industry Report - Popular hen categories

Time to escape

The classic escape to the spa for a weekend isn’t enough for our hens anymore with the popularity of pamper days falling by 60% compared to 2017. Instead, hens are being more daring and testing their skills inescape rooms, jumping up 267% in the UK and 188% in Europe.Brunchesare still a favourite, but nowtreasure huntshave grown in popularity by 74% as hens want to actually explore on foot instead of a cruise.

Industry Report - Stag Categories

Getting active

Stags are getting increasingly more active, particularly when staying in the UK where our jam-packed multi-activity days that combine multiple fun experiences have become 800% more popular in 2018. Rafting is also more popular, whilebar crawls, surprisingly, have decreased by 20%. Are stags drinking less? Overseas in Europe, our stags are still all about the classicpranksand evenboat parties, but with fewer strippers involved one may attribute this to a slightly more conservative booze consumption.

Who dares to share?

Industry Report - Hens taking a selfie

Are you one to upload?

What goes on tour, stays on tour! Seemingly not if you're on a 35-44 year old hen party. Surprising stat? You thought the stags were badly behaved but with a 73% chance of images being shared in this age group, it might be the hens that have something to hide. Oddly enough, for those over 45 the balance flips and the stags are back to their old tricks whereas you hens, you just like to show off.

Hen group in limousine

Insta-party!

Where do most hen photos inevitably end up? Facebook and Instagram are the favourites, as they’re perfectly designed for showing off your best (and worst) moments. Facebook is more about those special moments to share with friends and family, whereas Instagram is perfect for adding a filter and making you and the girls look even more glamorous.

The year ahead?

We can't predict the future but looking at the data it's fair to say the stag and hen sector is showing surprising strength in an industry blighted by downward pressure and so it's clearly encouraging and refreshing to see that despite what UK politics and our unpredictable economy can throw at a nation that one humble sector is still experiencing some truly happy times.

So we'll conclude this report with a tip of our hat to all of those stag and hen parties that have been and passed, but also to all of those yet to come and with more choice than ever before, we're sure that wherever you head, and no matter your interests that you'll be in for an amazing bash of your own.

A happy hen group enjoy a vintage themed photo shootA happy hen group enjoy a vintage themed photo shoot
Cheers with drinks in clubCheers with drinks in club
A stag party in fancy dress on barcrawlA stag party in fancy dress on barcrawl