Next year is shaping up to be “really promising” for the UK trade and agents should enter 2024 with a “positive mindset”, according to Advantage Travel Partnership’s head of commercial John Sullivan.
Speaking to delegates at the consortium’s Latitude cruise conference in Paris, Sullivan encourage agents to think positively as the peak season draws closer.
He suggested agents not get “bogged down” worrying about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and inflationary pressures on customers, saying “sensationalised” headlines would have people believe the situation is worse than it is.
He predicted the trends seen in 2023 of customers increasing their travel budget is likely to continue in 2024, and the upcoming peak season is going to be “huge”.
“In 2023, people have traded up by buying bigger, better and longer holidays and I think those trends are going to stay in 2024,” said Sullivan.
“Less people in the UK have a mortgage than ever before because they’ve paid them off which means they have more disposable income available and they are seeing higher interest rates on their savings.
“The cost-of-living crisis is just one part of the story so let’s not get dragged down thinking that is affecting everyone – there is a whole other part of the market which has money to spend.
“Some stuff changed during Covid which has made the workforce a different place and our agent partners can benefit from that. Previously, a customer might have only been able to take one week off for a summer holiday, but now they can book a two week holiday while working remotely for half of it, meaning agents can sell trips for double the length.”
He added: “I think things look really promising for next year and we should go in with the mindset that it’s going to be really good.”