According to a recent Ipsos Mori survey, Brits are more eager to get away on holiday than they are to attend personal celebrations like weddings, have a pint in the pub or even take the kids to see their grandparents.
That’s why it’s no surprise that in recent weeks we’ve seen a huge uplift in enquiries and bookings.
Staycations are in
Since the Government announced the roadmap out of lockdown, we’ve seen the highest-ever demand for UK bookings.
Back in March, Global Sales Director, Jim Eastwood said, “In the past 10 weeks we have sold more UK staycations than we would have done in two normal years combined.”
Thanks to the demand for UK breaks, our global sales rose to the same level they were at the same time in 2019.
Now, as we edge closer to the much-anticipated 17th May date when (at the time of writing) international travel is set to resume, Travel Counsellors are pleased to say that bookings have now reached 80% of the volume we saw in 2019.
We spoke to Sarah Smith who tells us when and where her clients are planning to travel.
“As soon as the announcement came, clients were contacting me. It’s been a long 12 months with no breaks and they just can’t wait to get away."
"Milestone trips and belated celebrations are a big hit at the moment – 30th & 50th birthdays, anniversaries, lots of honeymoons and respective hen and stag parties! I honestly think people are realising life is short, so celebrate, be with family, be with friends, make an occasion!"
"I’m booking lots of UK for May onwards and I’m finding the average booking value is higher than normal as clients have available funds having not been able to go to the pub, eat out, or take holidays for so long!”
Further ahead and further afield
As well as UK bookings, we’re seeing the Med, particularly Greece and Spain, and the US becoming popular for the summer months.
From September into 2022, the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Dubai are booming and onwards in 2022 it’s a real mix of destinations with cruise bouncing back in popularity.
Sarah says, “For overseas holidays, Greece, Maldives, UAE and cruises are popular towards the end of the year and into 2022. I even booked an amazing Japan cruise for 2023!"
"A stand-out for me was an enquiry that came in September from a new client. They were looking at Maldives for 2022, but at the time I could only look at third party suppliers then for out-of-date range flights and the prices were coming in over budget."
"I kept a hold of the enquiry and when live fares were released I got back in touch with some great offers for early bookers. I sent quotes for Oblu Select and Kuredu and then a wild-card for Constance Moofushi, which was originally over budget. But as all three are all directly contracted hotels, available in Phenix, we get fantastic rates and offers, one of which was a huge 40% saving on Constance Moofushi. The water villas are simply stunning and my client could not resist."
"It’s fantastic to be able to offer my clients such a range of beautiful properties, save them money and still drive value for myself."
Travel, but not just any travel
“What I would say is that demand for travel is high but especially so for travel that is reliable. Clients are naturally being cautious and I’m answering a lot of “what if…?” questions."
"This is where, as Travel Counsellors, we really come into our own. Guidance is so hard to come by online and even harder to interpret if you don’t speak the travel lingo! Plus, when clients book with a Travel Counsellor, they know that I will be on-hand, treating their booking with the utmost care. You just don’t get that reassurance anywhere else” says Sarah.
And it's not just Sarah: Travel Counsellors are in demand as the likes of the BBC seek travel experts to provide trusted advice to readers on a national scale.
Jim continues, “It’s right for clients to have that cautious optimism. The appetite is certainly there and the necessity for trusted travel advice and somebody to look after you from door-to-door has never been greater.”
Light at the end of the tunnel
“I feel so much more positive than I did a few months ago, previously we had no end date so it made it so hard to work towards anything but now at least with the Government’s roadmap we have something to work with” says Sarah
CEO, Steve Byrne, finishes, “To get some type of roadmap for travel mentioned on the announcement was great news and it’s really interesting for all of us how our consumers and customers respond, because it gives us a huge amount of confidence for the future.”
As travel begins to bounce back, many travel industry professionals may be reconsidering if they're in the right place to really benefit. If that sounds like you, get in touch to discover more about becoming a Travel Counsellor.