Offers, offers, offers
Last year was the year of tactics and this year we will see this trend increase even more.
Subscribe to your tour operators’ newsletters, stay in touch with what’s happening in the market, get the offers in your window and send them to your customers before anyone else.
This tactic has been successfully executed by Double S Travel in Luton, which uses latest offer posters on a weekly basis in its shop windows and also uses a database to email out latest offers to customers every fortnight.
Other agencies, including Knowle Travel in Solihull, West Midlands, Wanderers World Travel in Pershore, Worcestershire and Cannon Travel in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire regularly use weekly deal posters in their window spaces – driving the best deals direct to customers.
Consumers are looking for value for money and are open to suggestions on alternative destinations.
For example, in the past few weeks, we’re hearing more from agents who are switch-selling.
An example of this is Sue Bryant, senior travel consultant at Bailey’s Travel in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, who switch-sold a winter-sun break in the Canary Islands to a 12-night holiday to Thailand.
The Thailand package came in at only £50 per person more than 12 nights in Tenerife and for a much better standard of property.
Show the value
It’s all about value for money and clients may not realise the value they will get on some faraway holidays.
The Post Office Long-Haul Holiday Report 2009 claimed that the Far East offers the best value for a winter-sun break at the moment.
It declared Thailand the cheapest destination for the third year running. For example, a cup of coffee in Thailand costs just 50p, while a three-course meal for two, including house wine, costs about £28.
Following Thailand, Bali and Malaysia were cited as bargain destinations. In terms of mid-haul, the report also said that Kenya and Egypt also offer great value for money.
See it all
As a result of airline routing and stopovers, your clients can take in three or four destinations on one holiday for little more than the cost of a single centre. Research the best airfares on the market and get your clients a great deal.
For example, of the tickets available at the moment, customers can do routes such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas for nine nights for under £900. Alternatively, they could do Dubai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Phuket for two weeks for less than £1,200.
Go for longer
Encourage clients to stay longer – hotels are offering the most generous free-night deals at the moment and the longer clients stay, the more they will save. This is because hotels want to entice their customers to book now, rather than later.
At many properties, especially in Thailand where there is an over-supply of hotels, customers can generally pay for seven nights but stay for 14 – a very generous offering.
The flight is the biggest element of the holiday cost with the price of the accommodation relatively cheap. Once clients have paid for the flight the extra cost of staying additional nights is insignificant.
Keep up to date with destinations. Many places that you think you know well are changing – and failing to keep up might mean losing out.
You only need to look at what has happened in Dubai over the last couple of decades to see how a destination can rapidly become a big seller for the UK travel trade.
Nearer to home, Jersey is an example of a destination that has recently undergone a revamp.
Gen up on what’s happening in destinations and make sure you are first to offer your clients the holiday hot spots of tomorrow.
Debbie Goffin started with Premier Holidays 10 years ago as US product manager after working at Thomas Cook Holidays and British Airways Holidays. Her remit now includes sales and marketing and she is responsible for overseeing all channels, including online.