I had to feel for Abta’s Sean Tipton on Good Morning Britain this week. He went 10 rounds in the ring with former tabloid editor Piers Morgan over pricing in school holidays – and wasn’t far short of being KO’d.
Morgan got the bit firmly between his teeth, championing the populist view that holiday firms are greedy and exploit parents – and he was utterly ruthless in his attack, barely letting Sean make his defence.
Thank goodness he wasn’t hosting the breakfast show four years ago, when I was invited on to the sofa to discuss the very same issue.
Back then, I was given the opportunity to explain that holiday firms operate on thin margins for most of the year and have to charge more when demand is greater to enable their model to work.
And I was also able to point out that ITV operates a similar model, charging companies wishing to advertise around prime-time TV programmes more than those appearing during shows in the middle of the afternoon with millions fewer viewers.
To be honest, it’s probably not an argument that will ever be ‘won’, as no amount of reference to supply and demand will change the views of those who feel hard done by.
But, as PR expert Steve Dunne was quick to point out on Twitter, we must do our best to show that the industry is engaging with the discussion and exploring options such as staggered school holidays, which may help to flatten the peaks and find a resolution that benefits our industry and families alike.
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