Matching families’ expectations with the reality of what is available at what price remains the hardest challenge, according to travel agent Wendy Plant.
Wendy, an agent of more than 20 years, knows a thing or two about family holidays.
And she knows when a client’s budget is unlikely to stretch far enough.
“A caravan in August in Cornwall can cost £850 for a week and I will sometimes remind clients of that just as a reality check. I have to tell clients that they won’t get a holiday in this country for their budget,” she says.
The key is explaining exactly what clients can or can’t get for their money, she adds.
“I recently had a family with a budget of £1,000 and they wanted an all-inclusive holiday in July. I managed to get basic accommodation for £1,200 but in the end they paid just under £1,500 for a property with kids’ clubs and water slides.
“Sometimes you have to show customers that the cheapest is not always the best and show what they can get for a couple of hundred pounds extra.”
The issue is a topical one, with many parents finding breaks in the school holidays are priced above their expected budget.
Wendy, who estimates an all-inclusive for two weeks for a family of four in Europe costs around £2,500, says she now sells more UK breaks to families who cannot afford an overseas break and have chosen instead to do an overseas holiday every other year.
“I have booked UK holiday parks for families because the entertainment is all provided and there are some good deals around.”
Wendy, who became a homeworker after taking redundancy from Thomas Cook last summer, has been so busy since setting up on her own she has almost roped husband David, an IT manager,
into helping her out.
But she is loving every minute of working from home – and not just because she can take bookings in her dressing gown. “I wanted to do something different, so Cook did me a favour in the end. And I don’t have to get dressed until lunch time!”
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