Some operators fear a price war when school holidays break up next week, with the market remaining difficult despite a boost from the recent wet weather.
Thomsonfly.com was advertising online discounts of 75% at the weekend, fuelling concerns that over-capacity will damage peak-season prices.
Sunvil Holidays managing director Noel Josephides said: “Capacity used to be controlled by operators, now it’s controlled by low-cost carriers.
“Ryanair is behaving as Thomson did in the old days and major operators are behaving like frightened chickens. Next week will be critical.”
Thomsonfly.com commercial director Guy Stephenson denied the carrier’s discounts would affect operators’ prices. “We are in different markets and operators manage their own capacity,” he said.
Prices for peak-season holidays appeared to be holding firm despite a glut of cheap deals.
Hotels4U.com sales and marketing director John Harding said: “Accommodation-only prices are holding up. No one is jeopardising peak prices yet.”
First Choice retail managing director Cheryl Powell said she was “reasonably happy” with average prices, but admitted: “I hoped we’d benefit more from the wet weather.”
Somewhere2stay.com overseas director Hugh Morgan warned of a bed shortage if seats continued to sell for £79-£99. “We’ve got customers with flights, but no accommodation,” he said. “People could be caught short after July 21.”
Agents reported generally brisk business, despite concern about prices in the mass market lates sector.
Peter Goord Travel in Plymouth has booked almost two months’ worth of business in two-and-a-half weeks. Owner Anthony Goord said: “We’re getting bookings from older couples spending £1,000-£2,000. But the family market at the lower end is lacking.”
Directline Holidays sales director Matthew Flint said sales so far this month were 80% up year on year, but average selling prices were 5% down.
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