How’s the summer shaping up

The traditional summer holiday season is nearly upon us, schools are winding down, the six-week break is looming and traditionally it’s a time when families take some much-needed R&R time together.  But what is the summer season looking like?  Is the dreaded “B” uncertainty impacting holiday choices?  And are the way customers book holidays changing?  I recently caught up with Linda Pyle, Director of Brilliant Travel, to find out more – sharing secrets of the holiday trade with you.

What’s the overall summer booking situation looking like for this year?  It’s been challenging as it has been for most other industries, but we are now in a late booking market which is performing well.

What are the top destinations that customers are booking for their summer getaway and why?
Europe in always popular with Brits, and Spain & The Canaries still represents almost 30% of the UK holiday market. But strong sellers have been Turkey, Bulgaria and Egypt, all of these have seen massive growth this year. Customers are looking for value for money and there is an increase in All Inclusive because it represents better value.  The US remains popular with New York and Florida leading the way.

Where are the “rising stars” in terms of destinations this summer?
ABTA’s latest research has a number of exciting destinations on their latest Travel Trends Report.

  • Denver – cosmopolitan city the gateway to beautiful Colorado and the Rocky Mountains
  • Durban – new BA direct flights to and from Durban mean you can explore some of the best countryside in South Africa
  • Japan – many visitors looking to going there for the Rugby World Cup
  • Madeira – is always popular for amazing countryside and flowers, but the island has seen an increase in visitors who enjoy outdoor activities
  • Western Australia – with the new Quantas direct flight to Perth

 

Are customers still looking to “fly and flop” or is there more now that the summer getaway has to be?
Some, but customers are now more aware of responsible tourism, especially animal welfare.  Wellness breaks are on the increase, as are Tailor Made itineraries.  We’ve seen an increase in customers wanting a personalised itinerary and they are using the travel experts for this.  They want experiences and adventure as well as the beach.

How about the cruise sector?
Cruising is massive and continuing to grow with new ships coming into the market this year and with others to follow from the major cruise lines. They have capacity to fill and at the moment there’s some excellent prices for last minute holidays, from short breaks to longer getaways.

Typically, what’s driving a customer to book – ease of booking (so letting someone else to do the legwork) service, price, destination, board basis, quality?
Value for money and using a Trusted Travel Expert to book their perfect holiday. The demand for personal, tailored and expert travel advice is growing.  ABTA research shows that 45% of holidaymakers who book with a travel agent do so because they feel more confident.

What impact has the delays to Brexit had on summer bookings?
Initially the uncertainty translated into an increase in bookings to destinations outside the Eurozone such as Bulgaria, Egypt and Tukey which tend to offer cheaper resort costs.   What we do now know is we will leave on 31st October (with us without a deal) and we know about the transport links, passports & visa’s and consumer protection.

What destinations still have capacity for the summer?
If the customer is flexible there is availability to most destinations

Customers now tend to be advised to book early for best choice and deals, but I’m interested to understand the “lates” market for Summer 19 – how is it looking at the moment?
We’re seeing that Greek Islands, Mainland Spain & The Balearics have some great late deals.  Early bookers will naturally benefit from getting their exact holiday request, flights, hotel/room type, free child places etc leaving it late you have to take what is available.

What are your top tips for nabbing a great lates deal?
One word really – flexibility – Be prepared to be flexible on dates, departure airports, departure times and destinations.

Looking for a late deal is time-consuming, scouring endless websites to find what’s right for you and your fellow travellers can sometimes lead to a holiday not even being booked.    Get in touch and let me “take the strain”.  For inspiration check-out the latest deals on my website which include some amazing Greek Island offers.

 

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