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Comment: We need to counter negative headlines

The reality of travel’s return is far more positive than media coverage suggests, says Travel Weekly’s Lucy Huxley

Tales of traveller woe at airports were once again in the national headlines at the start of this week, presenting another unwanted challenge for agents looking to reassure customers for summer bookings.

But while the delays are undoubtedly unpleasant and unacceptable for those caught up in them, it’s worth reminding ourselves that much of the evidence suggests cases of major disruption are far rarer than the headlines would suggest.

Of course, we shouldn’t downplay any issues which prevent customers from having the best possible holidays and returning to book again.

However, the response I received to a tweet about a positive airport experience as I returned from Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas showcase in Barcelona suggests many in the industry are also keen to paint a realistic picture of the average traveller’s experience to allay clients’ potential concerns.

It was always going to be nigh on impossible to significantly ramp up operations from a standing start, and with staff shortages, additional red tape and a lack of understanding of current rules all still issues at home and overseas, there will no doubt be more stories about delays and cancellations to come.

But there are also so many amazing new products and experiences for the trade to shout about – the showcase of the world’s biggest cruise ship for 5,000 agents being just one example.

Efforts are continuing to amplify the industry’s lobbying voice. We also need to ensure we’re on the same hymn sheet when it comes to encouraging people to turn pent-up demand into bookings.

Comment from Travel Weekly May 12 edition, read online here

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