Travel agents must strengthen their knowledge of, and links with, UK accommodation, attraction and transport providers if they want to exploit the rise in domestic tourism.
Agents must also raise their profile as domestic break specialists with consumers, said Superbreak sales director Ian Mounser.
“Agents simply have to tell their customers that they book UK short breaks on a regular basis, whether it’s via a mailing, window message or face to face. They need to urge everyone, from regular bookers to passing customers who may not think of using an agent, to book this type of break.”
Despite the recession, Superbreak’s bookings are up 6% for its core UK leisure breaks through agents. “Across the whole of the UK, bookings are definitely strengthening, with March and April performing better than January and February,” said Mounser.
His comments come as East of England Tourism launched a campaign to drive tourism in the region. Let’s Go promotes leisure breaks and day trips by train to Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire by offering reduced price admissions for local attractions on buying a National Express train ticket.
East of England Tourism chief executive Keith Brown said: “Agents should make sure their knowledge of the area is up to speed in terms of the type of accommodation in the area, pricing and attractions. [They should] also understand what the customer is looking for and relate it to the region.”
There is a strong financial incentive to get in on the action, added Brown, with higher-end hotels offering commission of 8%. Making the most of domestic tourism is not rocket science; agents just need to forge partnerships, he said.
Said Mounser: “There are plenty of quality suppliers that already work with the trade and pay good commission to agents. There are chains such as Marriott and De Vere available, but also a lot of country inn-type properties, so there is plenty for agents to sell.”
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