Agents enjoyed high levels of enquiries over the Christmas period despite a lack of “aggressive” deals in the market compared with last year.
Online travel deals publisher Travelzoo said prices had remained consistent with last year – despite Thomas Cook pledging discounts of up to £400 – but reported an increase in web traffic of 96% on Wednesday, December 28, compared with Wednesday, December 29, 2010.
UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo said: “With package prices, it probably means any increase in flight prices has been absorbed by lower costs in resort or more packaging with low-cost airlines. As to whether you actually make £400 savings compared with what you could get elsewhere, I’m afraid the answer is no, but then you may not get the security elsewhere.”
Overall, the trade reported fewer aggressive deals driving business. Brandon-Bravo admitted: “The feedback from providers last year was everything was booked so late, so you would have thought you might see more aggressive prices in the market now.”
Thomas Cook and The Co-operative Travel said its savings were some of its best to date, with discounts up to £400 and a price-match promise. Thomson and First Choice are offering savings of up to £200.
The trade reported a busy start but The Travel Network Group and Advantage said bookings were not expected to take off until later in January.
Gemma Antrobus, managing director of Haslemere Travel in Surrey, said: “We expected it to be dead, but we’ve had good levels of enquiries.”
Kuoni managing director Derek Jones said: “It’s good that the market is not full of massive savings.”
Lowcostbeds.com and Resorthoppa said sales between December 29 and December 31 were 12% up, with Egypt “bouncing back”.
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