A post-Olympics surge in late summer bookings had failed to materialise as Travel Weekly went to press, but early reports indicate an upturn in autumn and winter sales.
Alan Bowen, of AGB Associates and adviser to the Association of Atol Companies, said: “I do not see any sign of a post-Olympics boom. If people are going to go away in the second half of August, they have already booked.”
One firm with a turnover of more than £60 million told Bowen it was experiencing the worst trading for 35 years. On one day during the Games it did not make a single booking, a first in its history.
“You have to make money in July, August and September to keep going for the other nine months,” Bowen added.
“A lot of companies did not make money in July or the first two weeks of August, so there are only six weeks left. People’s views that this is the worst year they have experienced is about right.”
Tui Travel chief executive Peter Long said the Olympics did not have much impact on core demand, although online bookings to London were down in July and August. Long said: “Our view was always that the Olympics would not have a significant impact on demand for the key period [July and August] and that has proven correct.”
But independent agents and operators have reported a bounce-back since Sunday’s closing ceremony, although not for late summer sales.
Robert Broad Travel director Oliver Broad said: “There has been a mad rush, mainly for Christmas and new year holidays.”Cosmos Tours & Cruises enjoyed its busiest day in eight weeks on Monday for sales up to the end of October. National sales manager Simon Garrido said: “You would not normally see that level of bookings at this time of year.”
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