A poll for Travel Weekly’s sister website Gazetteers.com late last week didn’t make particularly positive reading for domestic suppliers.
Of the agents who responded, 60% felt that the squeeze on budgets felt by consumers over the past few years hadn’t resulted in more domestic bookings for them.
You could argue that “domestic” doesn’t always mean “affordable”, and therefore domestic suppliers will be fighting the same battles as their overseas counterparts to try to attract bookings from cash-strapped consumers.
But with a number of UK and Ireland operators reporting record business, it would appear the issue may be not whether the product itself is desirable and affordable, but whether the trade is still not fully grasping opportunities close to home.
Exclusive research for this week’s UK & Ireland-themed issue of Travel Weekly, sponsored by VisitEngland, suggests that the demand for domestic holidays and short breaks is there for 2013. And a decent percentage of respondents would be willing to consider making their booking with an agent.
So the question remains: why do only 40% of the agents we polled feel they are getting their share of the business on offer?
Agents we spoke to for this week’s issue told us that small changes to their businesses to attract domestic bookings reaped much-needed dividends.
And with key domestic operators among the most proactive at engaging with frontline agents – and VisitEngland itself making efforts to drive bookings through the trade – there really isn’t an excuse not to explore these opportunities fully.
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