Throughout the peak summer holiday period UK travel companies saw a strong surge in domestic holiday bookings.
There are a number of reasons why, but the main one appears to be a growing number of people shunning the traditional booking rush at the start of the year and waiting until the last minute to decide where to go on holiday. And this year, the UK weather played a big role, with temperatures reaching record highs. Hoseasons saw bookings for its UK lodges and parks increase by 16% year on year in August.
Clients love to holiday in the UK because it offers value, flexibility and enables them to manage their budgets. They can and will holiday throughout the year, but agents need to give customers a reason to do it this autumn. Hoseasons head of sales Zena Calderbank has some tips.
1. Be proactive
If clients are not specific about where they want to go, include a UK break in your suggestions. They may not have considered the UK or realise their budget could stretch further, depending on where they choose to go. There may be a part of the UK they have always wanted to visit but prefer to go to out-of-season. Use your shop window and ensure there is always a UK-themed break to appeal to those who do not want to go too far.
Find out what events are taking place within a two-hour radius of your area so you can use them to help promote a local UK break. The more information you give the customer, the more you will impress them. It could be a case of keeping a list of the latest West End theatre shows (pictured) for clients, or finding out what events are happening at National Trust properties near to holiday parks.
3. Be realistic
The UK weather will have an impact on your customer’s decision on where to holiday, but it’s one of a number of factors that might include whether to choose a countryside or coastal setting or how important food, activity and heritage are. We are all aware the UK weather is unpredictable so it’s important agents advise customers to be prepared! If clients want a park holiday suggest one that offers a broad range of indoor activities such as an indoor heated pool and kids’ club.
4. Don’t assume the UK only has a limited product
The UK offers a vast array of accommodation to suit a wide range of audiences from holiday parks to boats and cottages. Not only that, properties can usually be found within a two-hour drive time ensuring fuel won’t cost a fortune.
5. Find a great price
Research tells us one of the last things people want to give up when times are tough is their holiday so they are prepared to shop around to get the best deal. With Christmas not far away, people are going to be extra careful so find out which operators have special offers so you can offer the client something they can’t refuse.
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