Britons fed up with constant bad weather just want to “get the hell out of here” by escaping on a break in the sun.
And as the northern hemisphere climate gets more unpredictable, more people will want to book summer and winter sun holidays, according to Tui Travel chief executive Peter Long.
Giving a video ‘viewpoint’ on the company’s website, Long said: “We are seeing rain in the spring, summer and winter. It’s incessant and that makes people feel miserable and the only answer to that is: ‘Let me go and book my summer holiday or my winter sun break and get the hell out of here because I just need to unwind and cheer myself up’.”
Such ingredients mean prospects for the industry are excellent, according to Long, who believes there are few negatives on the horizon to hold the business back in 2013, unlike problems in past years such as the Icelandic ash cloud, economic uncertainty in Greece and the revolutions across countries in North Africa.
However, consumers are being “very selective” in what they spend and they are “absolutely looking for value” while prioritising what they spend their money on.
“It’s fundamentally about, if you don’t offer something different, and that may be service or a unique experience, then what the web and the online world has created is commoditisation and price is the only driver,” Long said.
“So if you have not point of difference, the consumer will say: ‘The only thing that will determine whether I buy that product or service is price.’ Therefore you get into very dangerous territory.”
Discussing the travel group’s multi-channel distribution, Long said: “We took the view many years ago, the mid-1990s, that the online channel was going to become a very relevant channel for distributing our products because it was a fantastic way to showcase our holidays, so enabling customers to research.
“We didn’t fight it, we thought this was a great way of enabling our customers to get a more intimate understanding of the holidays we offer, the choices that we offer, and would complement our retail estate.
“What we developed was a multi-channel policy which has resulted in today our online sales being the same size as our sales through our network of shops.
“We’ve got an advantage against a pure online player which is technology driven because there is this point of contact you can have with our experts in our shops and we know customers like multi-channel.”
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