Tour operators are urging agents to focus on the domestic short-break market in a bid to weather the current economic storm.
As the domestic short break market hits its peak booking period for travel agents, Shearings Holidays head of sales and marketing Fiona Greenhalgh said the value offered by domestic breaks and the high number of repeat bookings from customers makes it attractive business.
But following one week in August when the operator took 400 domestic short break bookings with lead-in times of 10 days or less, Greenhalgh urged agents to actively market the breaks more to drive earlier sales.
She added: “It was a bit of a shock for us and we’ve had to change the way we work. I think the weekend market is something we really need to kick start now as people are booking later than ever.”
Superbreak sales director Ian Mounser said the period between now and the end of November is the busiest booking period for short domestic breaks for the operator, with a third of the business generated over the period.
Despite the impact of this summer’s weather on bookings – Shearings’ three top UK destinations saw a 20% increase in sales in August having been 10% ahead of the previous year in July – Mounser said domestic holidays are still worth considering as customers take one final break before winter sets in.
Mounser also said agents must focus on nearby destinations as half of all consumers will take a domestic break in a location within two hours’ drive of their own home.
He added: “People are worried about using too much petrol, agents have got to be pushing nearby destinations.”