The market is witnessing a shift from dynamically packaged holidays to package holidays for the first time in several years, according to figures revealed at this year’s Hays Travel Independence Group conference.
Statistics supplied to the group by GfK Ascent show packages are up by 2% for summer 2013 within a market that is currently 2% down for this summer. Winter was down 8%, with packages down by slightly less at 6%.
Hays Travel said it was seeing the same trend within its own group, comprising retail shops, homeworkers and Independence Group members.
Managing director John Hays said: “Dynamic packaging is important to us, so is it doomed? We won’t know yet but we are seeing a genuine trend. People are asking for packages much more in the shops.”
He said this could be down to a number of factors including the Civil Aviation Authority’s publicity campaign and the desire for reassurance in the current economic climate.
Currently, 30% of the Hays Travel group’s business is for dynamically packaged holidays, worth up to £200 million in holiday sales, with some Independence Group members fully dependent on this type of business.
But John added: “I am not worried about the shift. If it changes then we will have to cover more holidays on our full Atol.”
Hays is part of the Association of Travel Agents which is lobbying the European Union to keep the current Flight-Plus system in the UK in place, said Hays. “The feeling we have is that we think there is a high probability that Brussels will say customers need to be fully protected under Atol and not by a hybrid like Flight-Plus,”he added.
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