By Kathryn Ward, Tui UK retail director
Despite the dry weekend, the main question on everyone’s lips has been “when will it stop raining?”. This time of year is when we usually enjoy some of the summer’s best weather, so everyone is feeling hard done by with this unrelenting rain.
A lot of people in the industry expressed concern over the VisitEngland marketing campaign, fearing that it could be damaging for overseas travel. While the advert was great, the last month of rain may have killed the campaign somewhat. The rain is certainly depressing but it is good news for agents who I’m sure have seen their footfall increase as customers look to escape.
Aside from the weather, the other talking point is the effect this summer of sport could have on overseas bookings. While it’s too early to tell at this stage, agents should use the football and the Olympics as an opportunity to sell more.
All major holiday resorts will be showing Euro 2012 and the Games, and where better to watch them than in the sun? Many of the resort bars in Spain, Greece and Turkey have big screens, so customers won’t miss the action and the atmosphere will be great.
In terms of the Olympics, people are split between those who want to stay home and those who want to get away from it all. It’s different for those lucky people who have tickets, but there are many that don’t, which presents us with another sales opportunity.
Personally, I’ve had an exciting month as I went on holiday to Egypt for two weeks and then out to Tunisia on a fam trip. It was great to see both destinations bouncing back after the revolutions last year. I can’t believe that it was just over a year ago that we were repatriating customers from Tunisia, but it was great to go back and see how optimistic people are about the future and how geared up everyone is for the summer.
My last trip to Tunisia was more than 15 years ago and I don’t have great memories of it. However, the hotels have had a huge amount of investment, the food was delicious and the beaches stunning. I was very impressed and with a flight time of less than three hours it’s an attractive choice for our customers.
Finally, I couldn’t finish my column without a quick mention of Tui’s summer 2013 launch. For me, it was our best launch ever, thanks to the excitement of having our new Dreamliner in the programme for the first time, new exclusive hotels and the investment we are putting into our cruise ships.
We were able to show agents in the northwest the new Dreamliner last month as it came over with Boeing to Manchester as part of the world tour. It was great to see the aircraft for the first time; the agents couldn’t wait to start selling it.
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