A leading trade supplier has claimed the current heat wave has caused a slump in sales almost as dramatic as during 2010’s Icelandic ash cloud crisis.
Writing on his personal blog Steve Endacott, On Holiday Group chief executive, said many online travel agents have seen a 20% drop in sales during the last week.
He says this is comparable to the 25% fall experience when British air space was shut in April for more than a week.
Endacott said the sales slump has been felt in the “commoditised market” in which customers tend to book late using a credit card.
He claimed “when a heat wave hits, it’s very tempting to shelve the overseas holiday and just sit in the garden”.
He also blamed the electronic revolution meaning children are far happier spending their summer school holidays at home playing X-Box and streaming videos.
He called for holiday hotels to make sure they are offering free internet access.
“If we cannot provide the connectivity our kids demand in life, don’t be surprised if they start refusing to go on holiday with their parents to destinations that only offer a beach and a pool.”
Endacott’s view of the market echoes what others have been saying about a less busy than expected start to the lates selling period.
Monarch Travel Group managing director Hugh Morgan noted that last month’s pay day had not prompted a spike in business.
Speaking to Travel Weekly at the start of July, he said: “We have had a very good year to date; business is doing extremely well and we have been outperforming the market for a long time now.
“But the last couple of weeks it’s been noticeable people have not been that exuberant. Generally speaking packages are still doing extremely well, it’s the seat-only market that has slowed a little.
“Whether Ryanair has got a lot of capacity to shift or easyJet I don’t know, there just seems to be a battle going on.
“It will be a very, very late lates but you have to remember the first 15 to 20 days of July are always a bit slack.”
To illustrate his point Morgan picked out a flight price on one airline of just £69 per person from Birmingham to Palma, Majorca, leaving on July 7.
On June 30, the Sunday Times claimed research comparing 35 seven-night packages showed the peak season mark-up was not as high as might be expected.
It said the average increase for holidays in August was 12% with Thomson’s mark-up at just 5.1%.
Morgan also said it was noticeable that more people were making their holiday purchases by debit card as opposed to credit cards meaning they needed to have the cash in the bank.
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