Comment: Reasons to stay optimistic in the year ahead

Comment: Reasons to stay optimistic in the year ahead

By Victoria Sanders, managing director of Teletext Holidays.

The office is decked out with tinsel, there are mince pies on my desk and only a few hours to go until the annual staff Christmas knees-up. As this is my last column of 2011 I felt it was only right to get into the festive spirit and end on a positive note.

After another year of endless downbeat news about the economy, I am determined to find a few reasons to be cheerful.

This week I’ve been looking at pockets of the industry that are performing well, trends worth following up and reasons to stay optimistic in the year ahead.

Spain to reign again

There has definitely been a return to the mainstream and Spain is set to be a winner next year.

When times are tough, it seems people gravitate to what they know and trust.

They might have spent the past few years exploring new countries and splashing out on a credit card for a bit of adventure, but now it’s a return to the tried and tested. One of the highlights of this year was Kate and Wills’ wedding. While many were cynical in advance, there is no doubt that even die-hard republicans agreed it was a fine party indeed and the nation’s mood visibly lifted.

I think we’ll see more of the same around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June 2012. With an extra bank holiday on June 5, and the May Bank Holiday being moved, we have a four-day weekend to look forward to which coincides with the school half-term holiday.

That has to be a great opportunity for early summer sales and mums and dads will take the opportunity to get away with their little ones without taking too much time off work.

Drive those discounts

The ‘bulk buy Britain’ craze has really taken hold this year and people are now in the mood to buy if they see a killer deal.

I remember years back when holiday discounting went bananas as retailers outdid each other with 50%off posters in the window.

While that has eased off in recent years as holiday firms get better at managing supply and demand, the likes of Groupon and Wowcher have moved this discount culture on a notch and will become more sophisticated in getting the right deals to the right people.

For package holiday businesses, this deal-based marketing is meat and drink. Present a cracking limited period offer with a "tipping point" target and people will act.

Many of us will be glad to see the back of 2011. Like Rudolph, it will go down in history, but for reasons not nearly as jolly.

Yet as the Christmas party beckons, I’m determined to see the glass half full for 2012.

Although in the meantime, knowing my lovely colleagues as I do, I suspect the only glasses I will see tonight will be empty ones.

Happy Christmas readers!

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