For those of you who keep a close eye on Travelweekly.co.uk it’s been quite a confusing week.
Expedia, that great online challenger to the traditional travel industry, indicated those terribly old-fashioned things known as packages are poised to become its focus.
Then we heard from lastminute.com, insisting that people are waiting to book, would you believe, last minute – a trend more apparent for city breaks and hotel stays booked on mobile than for the annual holiday.
And finally Travel Counsellors weighed in insisting that, for them, the tailor-made itinerary is all the rage, with record sales from customers looking to explore and do something different.
All this after last week’s Travel Weekly round-table heard from agents and operators that the FIT fully inclusive tour – remember those? – was back in vogue. Who to believe?
Beyond the spin, the latest GfK industry figures for February suggest packages were 8% up, in an otherwise flat market.
But maybe everyone is right and what we are seeing are firms pursuing different strategies that exploit their market niche.
Clearly, there are customers who like to plan and look for the reassurance of a full-service travel agent, and there are those prepared to wait to get the best deal.
Maybe there is enough in each category to satisfy everyone.
Whatever the truth, I’m sure hearing Expedia describe dynamic packaging as “selling the old way” will raise a wry smile among many of our readers. Filtering options to present the right product to the consumer is something this industry proves extremely adept at every day.
Welcome to our world, Expedia.
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