The Travel Snob’s David Walker shares what he has learnt about peaks during his 10 years trading
This is now my 10th peaks and I’m trying to decide whether it gets harder or easier each year.
I can still remember my first one. I recall all the hype of peaks preparation, getting social media posts scheduled in for the end of December to raise awareness of what was about to come. As I contacted everyone on my client list, which was very small at the time, and trawled through suppliers’ pre-sales, I wondered what I was letting myself in for. I had no idea what it all meant, or if it was all just hype.
I contacted everyone on my client list, which was very small at the time, and trawled through suppliers’ pre-sales
I was a complete novice, but I did realise January wasn’t going to be the month to rearrange my desk and make sure my pencils were in the correct colour order. I’d concluded that procrastinating was not a word I’d be using to describe my actions for at least two months.
But was that first peaks all it was cracked up to be? Well, in my first-ever January in business, having traded for the previous eight months leading up to it, I ended up with a sales figure higher than what I’d managed in my first five months of trading combined. It was also the first time I’d hit over £100,000 in sales in one month. I realised this ‘crazy peaks’ malarkey perhaps wasn’t all smoke and mirrors after all.
After that successful peaks debut, over the following four years (pre-Covid) a milestone was hit each January as I achieved my self-set targets. And it got bigger each year as my client base grew from its modest foundations. I also saw a pattern developing in the number of bookings made, and a pattern of the same people choosing to book their annual holiday in January.
I ended up with a sales figure higher than what I’d managed in my first five months of trading combined
My peaks planning changed year on year, from ensuring I was personally sending a Christmas card to all my regular customers to giving a list to a printing firm that contained the addresses of all my top clients, so that they could send them instead. Every second counts in peaks, after all.
I also made sure to call clients who tended to only book in January to remind them that I was always available and to have a good old catch-up, something I still do to this day. That’s the beauty of December generally being a nice quiet month – it gives you time to do this.
Moving on to the present day, my peaks planning mainly consists of going to as many parties, award ceremonies and supplier lunches as I can, because over the 10 years I’ve been trading, my clients have been as loyal to me as I am to them.
My peaks planning mainly consists of going to as many parties, award ceremonies and supplier lunches as I can
When I see any specific offers they are promoting, I send details to a target audience of customers I know would be interested. Christmas flights seem to have come out slightly earlier this year so I’m contacting clients who usually go away for the festive period, which may mean January is a bumper sales month this year (I’m on target to do over £500k) but February may fall a little short.
And as for January, all I do now is work like a dog, survive on very little sleep, miss out on Coronation Street and drink plenty of gin!
However long you have been in business, I hope you are all having a happy peaks so far.
Father and son cock-a-hoop
One of my biggest spenders booked his 2024 half-term trip recently and I mentioned that we should get another summer 2024 holiday booked in. We started off looking at a villa holiday and I sent him three options, all around the £47,000 mark for two weeks. Knowing that his son had recently got into basketball, I also sent him a Canada itinerary for £85,000.
He was delighted and booked pretty much straight away. Unfortunately, the itinerary didn’t include tickets to see his son’s favourite team, the Toronto Raptors, but as it was his birthday I sent him a Raptors cap in the post, which went down a treat. I received a WhatsApp message that said: “And you wonder why I only ever book with you!”