Homeworkers hail ‘Boris bookings bonanza’

Homeworkers from The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel reported soaring sales this week, thanks to the “Boris bookings bonanza”.

The homeworking business – part of The Midcounties Co-operative – said the prime minister’s announcement on Monday about a lockdown exit strategy meant that Tuesday was one of the top 10 sales days in the company’s nine-year history.

It reported an increase in bookings of 293% on Tuesday, compared with the same day the week before, and bookings were up 317% compared to the same day in 2020, before the pandemic took hold.

The Canaries were most popular, with Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Cyprus close behind.

It has been a busy week for agents across the country as new enquiries flooded in but many holidays needed to be rebooked as well.

Sheena Whittle (pictured), head of The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel, said: “We expected to see a positive reaction to the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, but not to the degree that we have experienced.

“To see one of our best ever days for sales, after so much strife, has been a very welcome lift.

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“There are still many questions to be answered about travel this year, from the possibility of vaccine passports to quarantine regulations, but the surge we have seen shows many customers are compelled to have something to look forward to.”

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland travel agents are seeing an upturn in demand from older people who have been vaccinated and frontline health staff.

Londonderry-based agent Heather Wilson, who chairs Abta in Northern Ireland, told the News Letter: “Older people, the people who have already been vaccinated, they’re the ones that are ready to travel now. We’ve definitely seen an increase in demand from them.

“We’re hearing it from a lot of frontline workers in the NHS who have had their leave cancelled down, who are mentally and physically fatigued. They need a break and they want to get away as well.”

Elsewhere, CV Villas reported a 196% increase in website traffic since the PM’s announcement, while OYO Hotels, the technology-led hotel company, saw a 100% increase in bookings on Tuesday, which rose by a further 20% on Wednesday.

OYO said London takes the top spot with more than a quarter of all bookings, while coastal destinations are also popular, such as Newquay, Brighton, Bournemouth, Isle of Wight, Eastbourne and Tenby.

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