The World Cup in Brazil kicks off today but as football fans’ excitement approaches fever pitch, agents have been told they should not use the competition as an excuse for poor sales.
Previous tournaments have often been cited as a reason for depressed business in World Cup years, but Google data obtained by Travel Weekly tells a different story.
The last World Cup in South Africa in 2010 saw minimal impact on travel searches, with volumes dipping only slightly ahead of the tournament.
A similar pattern was recorded ahead of the extended Easter break and royal wedding in 2011 and the London Olympics in 2012.
Google data reveals last year’s heatwave had a bigger effect on travel searches, the warm weather prompting a marked reduction in activity and a shift from desktop to mobile.
The insight from Google was backed up by the views of travel agents, who said the World Cup should be seen as an opportunity not a threat.
Writing in this week’s Travel Weekly, columnist Miles Morgan, owner of Miles Morgan Travel, said: “With the World Cup kicking off, we have yet another reason for poor sales. Or do we?
“The key is to embrace what is happening with these big events and look for the opportunities they present – not see them as a reason for missing targets and having poor performance.”
Gemma Antrobus, managing director of Haslemere Travel, agreed that the impact of previous World Cups had been overblown, adding: “We are taking bookings for Rio carnival next year, so with the eyes of the world on Brazil now is a great time to get in some big bookings.”