The lifting of quarantine requirements for holidaymakers returning from Portugal has boosted 2020 bookings and enquiries for Triangle Travel.
The agency, which has five branches in Berkshire and Oxfordshire, has also reaped the benefits of regular webinars which update clients about destinations and travel trends.
Rob Kenton, managing director, said about 45% of the enquiries and bookings made this week were for 2020 holidays.
“It surprised me as I thought 2021 would be the big driver of the numbers,” he said.
The agency has been hit by the announcement of quarantine for those returning from Spain as well as the ‘quarantine roulette’ for other destinations, he added.
However, the addition of Portugal to the ‘safe list’ has sparked a flurry of interest from customers, mostly couples, who are keen to book city breaks and winter-sun holidays to Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve.
Triangle Travel has also booked an upcoming river cruise on the Douro.
Other destinations selling well for 2020 are Italy and the UK – where luxury lodges with Darwin Escapes are popular.
“We had real success last week with Typically Italian Holidays and offers for Andrea Bocelli concerts in Tuscany and Rome,” said Kenton.
“We did email and social marketing and got eight bookings. It is about targeting offers.
“All of our preferred suppliers have been working well with us.
“Caribtours have been supporting us and they did one of our webinars.”
He said the fortnightly webinars each attract about 40 clients and have helped keep customers informed about trends during the pandemic.
They developed from an initial webinar with Gary Lewis, chief executive of The Travel Network Group, of which Triangle Travel is a member.
“We got him on the webinar to talk about refunds,” said Kenton.
“TTNG has been brilliant – they are a rock and have supported us well with lots of positivity.”
Other webinars have featured Andy Harmer, director of Clia UK & Ireland, talking about the cruise sector, and most recently, the Uzbekistan tourism minister.
Kenton said he has also seen a shift in consumer sentiment recently.
Some clients were eager to travel as soon as they could, while others are waiting until next year.
However, there is a segment in the middle which had been nervous but is now keen to book a 2020 break.
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