Advice from Tariq Khan, head of trade sales, Hoseasons.
Do your customers still think of UK family holidays as a cheap and cheerful caravan park
by the sea?
If so, it’s time to put them right. Domestic short breaks have come a long way over the last few years and there’s a huge range of options for families looking for a luxury getaway on their doorstep.
Whether it’s a rural lodge escape with a hot tub in the heart of the Great British countryside, a classic cottage weekend, or a chic boating break exploring the UK’s glorious inland waterways, there’s a wide choice of premium accommodation available from a vast number of suppliers – and no queues at the airport!
Here, Tariq Khan, head of trade sales at Hoseasons, gives some tips on how to sell the UK as a luxury holiday destination.
Do your research
Find out which suppliers you work with offer luxury product in the UK and then get as much information from them as possible, so that you can show clients pictures and detail about the accommodation and activities available.
Most UK operators have lots of information online with dedicated agent sites, while many also have useful online training platforms.
A good breadth of product from lodges to cottages, boats to self-catering apartments and hotels to holiday parks, is also important.
Many clients may not consider booking a luxury break in the UK and, if they do, may not consider using their local travel agent to book one.
Promote the fact you sell the UK and the type of holidays on offer and surprise your clients by offering them premium UK breaks when you send out offers.
It’s also worth challenging your own perceptions by going on site visits or even booking your own UK break – a lot of UK operators will provide great concessionary rates for the travel trade.
Don’t just sell the accommodation
You must sell the location and activities on offer as well as the accommodation. Look up local sights and tell customers about the things they can do in the area. Many customers appreciate a little bit of guidance, so tell them how far key attractions, towns, cities and beaches are from where they are staying. Use brochures or the agent sites for additional detail.
It’s worth remembering that most customers who want a UK break don’t venture farther than a two-hour drive from where they live, so get yourself up to speed about what’s on your doorstep.
Find out what’s going on in the area. There’s always something noteworthy happening, from national holidays and key sporting events to local fetes and shows. It might even secure the deal, particularly if you have a family looking for things to keep the kids entertained.
Understand your customers
For every overseas holiday a customer takes in a year, they’re also likely to take two holidays at home.Savvy agents could suggest a UK break off the back of an overseas sale.
The type of holidays that clients select abroad can give you clues as to what they might like in the UK. A family of four going to a villa in Cyprus is likely to enjoy a luxury lodge break back home, for example.