Croatia has been marketing itself recently using the tagline “The Mediterranean that once was”, which seems apt as that’s what everyone is looking for – a holiday package in the region at prices that take us back to before the economic slump and the rampant euro.
Cosmos product manager for Turkey Gemma Carroll said: “Customers are aware of what’s happening to the pound against the euro and are looking for ways of taking their summer break for the same or similar cost to last year.”
If you’ve bought a baguette in Venice airport lately you will have noticed how light your wallet is, and that’s before you’ve checked into the hotel. Customers are now
more receptive to alternative Mediterranean holiday destinations as the euro reaches parity with the pound.
Countries outside of the eurozone – such as Turkey, Tunisia and Croatia – are capitalising on this fact. “However, operators to traditional euro destinations are aware of this and are offering a range of deals, including early-booking discounts such as upgrades, free days and child places at no extra cost,” explained Caroll.
“They know how crucial it is to get in those early sales,” she added.
Traditional bookers at resorts in Spain, Greece and Italy are pushing discounts as there is now pressure on suppliers to cut costs for hotel beds and ground-handling services. Although some Greek destinations, which enjoy a particularly high level of repeat business, are still able to maintain prices.
All-inclusive holidays are increasingly popular, although these aren’t available in all countries. For example, as Shearings head of product Caroline Brown explained, “It is not a concept that the French have got on board with yet.”
Some higher-end operators are highlighting three-star hotels in this year’s brochures to attract people who have downgraded in the wake of the economic slowdown. And other operators are offering free places for multi-generational holidays – bringing the grandparents along.
Self-catering is increasingly being leveraged as a way for people to save money on their holiday. Quality Villas marketing manager Virginie Pierron said: “A large number of owners have reduced their rates, many by 20% or more.”
Tips: Alternative destinations and all-inclusives
Customers are also relying on travel agents and operators to come up with solutions on the ground to help them save money.
Coastline’s product and marketing manager Jane Chapman said: “Use the knowledge of local staff to find the best-value restaurants, bars and the best things to do to make the most of your euro.”
Operators are also reminding clients that they are still able to book their flights, ferry crossing, accommodation and car hire in sterling.
On the agency side, it is also good for everyone to get it all down on paper.
“If the price you agree today is the price you will pay, without any surcharges – get it in writing,” advised AITO spokesperson Sue Ockwell.
“This is going to be a difficult year and it’s important for customers to know exactly where they stand before they commit.”
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