Pasta on Mondays, pizza on Tuesdays, fishfingers and chips on a Wednesday night – every family has little routines that avoid arguments and keep everyone on track, but that need not apply to their summer holiday.
It’s the one time of year when families get to escape their day-to-day drudgery in favour of somewhere more exciting, so why let them get stuck in a rut by heading back to the same destination year after year?
Once you get to know your customers’ tastes, it should be easy to suggest an alternative resort that ticks a few of the same boxes but still offers something new.
It will not only help build a relationship with repeat clients but also prove how much extra value an agent can offer.
So if you’re lacking inspiration for your next family booking, take a look at our ideas for livening up a family escape.
Switch Tunisia for the Black Sea
The summer family market looks markedly different this year after the tragic attack on tourists in Sousse last June, prompting the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to advise against all but essential travel to Tunisia, plus the cancellation of flights to Sharm el-Sheikh.
That means families will be looking for all-inclusive bargains elsewhere, and Bulgaria’s Black Sea resorts are gearing up to take some of the strain.
Yet Balkan Holidays’ sales and marketing manager Chris Rand believes the appeal goes beyond budget.
He says: “Bulgaria’s value-for-money aspect cannot be denied; however, there is much more to it than that. Sunny Beach is well known and a popular resort with families – waterparks, kids’ clubs and a Blue Flag sandy beach are just some of its attractions. There are also smaller resorts such as Golden Sands, Obzor and Albena, and genuine towns and villages such as Nessebar and Sozopol where you get a taste of the history and heritage of Bulgaria.”
Book it: A week’s all-inclusive at the four-star Grand Hotel Sunny Beach costs £1,251 for a family of four, with Gatwick flights departing May 22 and transfers. balkanholidays.co.uk/agents
Switch Orlando for San Diego
The theme park capital of the world has much to recommend it. But if they’ve done Disney one year, Universal the next and SeaWorld the year after that, it might be time to try something new, which is where San Diego comes in.
Flying to the West Coast means a few extra hours on a plane, but it’s worth it to experience that laid-back California vibe and take a dip in the Pacific Ocean instead of the Atlantic.
Funway senior marketing executive Rebecca Evans says: “San Diego has a staggering number of family attractions, from San Diego Zoo and Safari Park to Legoland and SeaWorld. Not only does it have an impressive bay-side setting and sunny climate, but also a youthful, fun-loving atmosphere. It’s up there as Funway’s number one family holiday spot.”
Book it: A week at the three star Bahia Resort Hotel in San Diego starts at £689 based on two adults and two under-12s, with Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow departing November 15. funway4agents.co.uk
Switch Northern Thailand for South Africa
For those who prefer a sense of adventure to a sandy beach, there are growing numbers of group or tailor-made tours designed specifically for families.
Carrier’s new two-week family tour to South Africa has some real highlights for the grown-ups, including staying at Belmond Mount Nelson in Cape Town and exploring the vineyards of Babylonstoren in the Winelands.
But it’s the chance to spot seals and southern right whales in Cape Town, board a boat to see bottlenose dolphins and endangered African penguins at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, or take tailor-made family game drives at malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, that will really get the kids engaged.
Book it: Carrier’s 12-night Family Adventures itinerary costs £13,500 for four, including international and internal flights, accommodation, some meals, six days’ car hire and private transfers. carrier.co.uk
Switch Sharm el Sheikh for Cyprus
If families changing their Sharm plans aren’t comfortable switching to a different Red Sea resort, they can look a little farther north.
“When there have been problems with Egypt in the past, we switch-sold families from Sharm and our other Red Sea resorts at that time to Cyprus, with a high level of success,” says Olympic Holidays commercial director Photis Lambrianides.
“Families who would have booked the Red Sea want a great beach for the kids, good watersports and a quality hotel to relax at for a week or two. Cyprus can give them all that. Its good-value, four-star hotels have proved especially popular with switch-sell clients, and those seeking a quality all-inclusive won’t be disappointed.”
The family options are endless, but among Olympic’s best-sellers are the four-star Elias Beach Hotel in the exclusive Amathus area of Limassol, and the five-star Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos.
Louis Hotels’ newest property, St Elias Resort in Protaras, is also set to open on May 13 after renovation as a four-star-plus all-inclusive.
Book it: Olympic Holidays offers seven nights’ all-inclusive for four sharing a Junior Sea view Suite at Elias Beach Hotel in Limassol for £3,769, based on an August 1 departure, with easyJet flights to Larnaca. olympicholidays.com
Switch camping on the Continent for country living in the UK
Forget worrying about baggage allowances or struggling through airport security – families who eschew package holidays for the independence of their own car and a non-hotel setting might be surprised how much there is in the UK.
Hoseasons has just added a set of Scandinavian-style lodges overlooking the north Cornwall coast to its Evermore Lodge Holiday Collection.
As well as a sandy beach at Portreath, the nearby wildlife conservation centre offers a chance to see foxes and hand-feed reindeer, while ranger-led wildlife safaris and lamp-lit night walks will open children’s eyes to the barn owls, bats and hedgehogs which come out after dark.
There’s no need to rough it at Haven’s Perran Sands, either. Also in Cornwall, this park is home to some of the brand’s most innovative accommodation, with yurts, geo-domes and safari tents that go way beyond a standard tent, with everything from wooden verandas to interconnecting domes for extended families.
Book it: A three-night weekend break for four at Gwel an Mor in north Cornwall starts at £439, with a week from £529. hoseasons.co.uk
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