With the end of the pandemic closer every day, there are brighter times ahead for the travel industry, says Newmarket Holidays’ Richard Forde

Throughout the pandemic, we have understandably seen a much more cautious approach to booking holidays, with travel restrictions and lockdowns liable to happen at short notice. The demand is still there though, as customers look to give themselves something to look forward to.

However, operators are having to work harder to help agents get the sale with better value, more quality and more interesting itineraries and experiences. This value can be seen particularly in the long-haul market, which is hugely beneficial to both the agent and the customer.

Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a clear increase in customer demand for long-haul destinations, with people booking further in advance with a ‘when the dust has settled’ mantra. With a long-haul escorted tour, operators will book group allocations on a flight and with hotels, this value is then passed down to clients, who can book a 10-day India holiday with meals and flights from Newmarket for just £1099, or head west and do an American tour for equally good value with a host of inclusions in the itinerary.

Traditional booking methods of looking at next spring or summer are becoming less common for the moment, with customers wanting to book a year, or even two, in advance in some cases. Given the past 12 months, this is totally understandable ¬– customers need something to look forward to when the pandemic is over!

As we’ve seen in the last few years, not just with but Covid but with Brexit, ash clouds and going further back foot and mouth, global events can alter customer demand enormously, as can currency fluctuations and the news agenda changes. Always ask your local BDM what is popular right now as they will have access to a huge amount of sales figures and data that can help steer promotions – Facebook is great for promoting a holiday where the destination features on a popular TV programme, giving quick wins and quick sales!

When selling long-haul holidays, try tailoring your language to suit to the customer. Some customers like them to be called a ‘tour’ as it gives a sense of reassurance, whereas others may find this restrictive, and prefer the words ‘holiday’ or ‘adventure’. Every Newmarket holiday is different , some have multiple hotels, some have one central base, some have many inclusions, others may have optional excursions – but whatever the framework – they are all just holidays, so happy selling and here’s to a prosperous post-pandemic world for travel!