Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley says a focus on margin as well as volume will be more important
Those of a certain generation will remember David Lynch’s hit TV series Twin Peaks, which had the nation gripped in the early 90s.
I’ll confess I hadn’t thought of it much in the intervening years, but it was what immediately came to mind when I spoke to Hays Travel owner Dame Irene Hays about her 2024 strategy at the company’s conference in Vilamoura, Portugal, last week.
Irene says the company is planning for two peak selling periods, with the traditional focus on January and February replicated for an anticipated second surge as summer approaches.
This is essentially a positive story, based on confidence that this year’s patterns of strong demand will continue into next year. But Irene said it also reflected the need for a concerted effort to ensure summer sales are made at good prices and the extra capacity added by the largest operators doesn’t end up piled high and sold cheap in a lates discount frenzy – with inevitable knock-on effects for future seasons.
Speaking at Travel Weekly’s Future of Travel Conference in September, the bosses of the big three tour operators Jet2, Tui and easyJet holidays said they wouldn’t have added that capacity and extended the summer season without good reason, but they admitted the proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
Judging by the confidence shown by many agencies this week, a strong start to the year is certainly on many firms’ radars.
But if the much-needed rebound seen this year is to continue at sustainable levels, a focus on margin as well as volume will be more important than ever in 2024.
Comment originally from Travel Weekly, November 23 edition