Learn from the past and beware of the pressure to discount, says Andy Freeth, managing director B2B UK at dnata
By now, I’m guessing that a fair few of you have given up on your new year’s resolutions.
This is no smug post, we all do it: we pledge to get fit, eat healthier and sign up to dry January. For those still eating kale and talking about running a marathon, I salute you.
The rest of us all started with something more modest, like walking around the block and not eating the kids’ selection boxes. I’m guilty of it myself: I start the new year ablaze and then tend to fall off the wagon at the Globes.
However, there are some resolutions the travel industry should be sticking to long past the end of January.
With a bewildering array of discounts on offer already, we need to hold our nerve with discounting. The industry doesn’t have last season’s stock to shift at half price.
The annual Abta Travel Trends Report uses the phrase “cautiously positive” when it comes to booking, and predicts that almost a quarter of the population will spend more on their holiday this year than last.
From the beach horror in Tunisia to the atrocities in Paris, there was a relentless stream of bad news last year. While we won’t ever forget what happened, as an industry, we have always shown resilience in the face of adversity.
We have a duty to support travellers now more than ever when it comes to their confusion over holiday choices and ensure that when it is safe to do so, we are championing destinations to keep people travelling.
Remember how you got here
More than one operator has left the trade to deal directly with consumers over the past 12 months and the majority have come straight back.
The trade is our bread and butter here at Gold Medal and Travel 2 and we don’t take it for granted. Invest in training, offer up the best incentives and say thank you.
Celebrate the pound
With the pound going from strength to strength against the euro, now is the time to promote European breaks.
Day-to-day expenses for British holidaymakers are much cheaper than in previous years, which means more people might be tempted to take short breaks to supplement their main holiday. Similarly, the pound continues to perform well against the Canadian and Australian dollars with incredible deals on offer.
That once-in-a-lifetime trip has become a whole lot more achievable.
Capitalise on milestones
With the Olympics in Rio and Euro 2016 in France, we should all be capitalising on the opportunities that they bring. And don’t forget the over-55s market.
This year we should begin to see the possible impact of the pension freedoms that came into effect last April giving the over-55s easier access to their pension savings.
This travel‑hungry demographic isn’t traditionally held back by a nine-to-five job and, combined with cheaper fuel costs finally starting to impact on long-haul air fares, here’s hoping that they will travel even more this year.
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