Advantage members report mixed fortunes as election affects sales

Advantage members report mixed fortunes as election affects sales

Advantage Travel Partnership agents have reported mixed fortunes this year as they assessed the impact of the general election on holiday sales.

Consortium members gathered this week in Bodrum, Turkey, for the group’s annual overseas conference hosted by Mark Warner in the all-inclusive Sea Garden Resort.

Assessing the year to date, Helen Tustin, general manager of Regal Travel and an Advantage board member, said the market was “patchy” but there had been a marked improvement in bookings the week after the election.

“Upmarket and long-haul are good, but what is really suffering is the family market, although it’s picking up for 2016. Families are booking for next year, so maybe they’re giving this year a miss,” she said.

Regal Travel has four shops in Wales, and Tustin said performance of each has been hard to predict, with one of them doing well one day but another standing out the next day.

She said Tunisia has suffered following the terrorist attack on the Bardo Museum on March, and Egypt was also having a hard time.

Mainstream customers are opting for favourites like Spain, with Benidorm and the Canaries remaining popular, and Tustin said Turkey was also going well.

She said wedding bookings were picking up, as was cruise, and city breaks were “doing okay” while UK domestic holidays were flat.

Jackie Steadman, director of Traveltime World and another Advantage board member, said the first quarter had been very positive with the agency up 23% year-on-year.

But she said bookings in April had “fallen off a cliff”. “The election definitely had an effect,” she said. Steadman said she believed the timing of Easter also had an impact.

She said business in general has been good with Traveltime’s target market of affluent over-55s still booking, some well in advance.

The agency is already seeing bookings come in for next year, including one that departs on November 16, 2016.

Leicester-based Millington Travel said it had prepared for April to be awful based on figures before the 2010 general election.

But co-owner and director of the six store high street agency Nick Bland said the month had actually beaten all expectations.

“When we were looking ahead for 2015 our biggest worry was April and May but April did really well for us.

“We looked historically at how April was before the 2010 election during the recession and it was a really bad month. We budgeted for it to be awful this year but it beat our expectations.”


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