As you will know by now, the biggest booking time is just after Christmas. If it is mild, bookings tend to drop. If the weather is bad bookings go up. And that seems to be just what has happened this year. Although the snow hit most of us before Christmas, there was still quite heavy snowfall in the north and Scotland afterward. The first reports seem to suggest that bookings are well up on last year. By 18%. Bad weather makes us think about holidays more
GfK Ascent monitors bookings via travel agencies. As reported in the travel trade magazine, Travel Weekly, for the first eight days of January sales are up by 4% on 2010. Short haul holiday bookings (this would roughly equate to the Mediterranean and the rest of Europe) are up by 10%. Spain is up, but perhaps a little surprisingly, so is Florida although GfK Ascent puts that down to heavy discounting by one tour operator. The three top winners are Spain, Greece, and Cyprus.
Medium-haul holidays are also up (North Africa, Middle East) but long-haul holidays are down by 9% compared to last year. This is put down to the very large increase in APD last November and fuel price rises.
So the conclusion is that, in the very early days of January, we want our holidays. The bad news is that prices have risen with long-haul holidays costing an average £85 more. The chief executive of the independent chain of travel agents, Advantage, has said that average selling prices by his members were up by 12% compared to a year ago. Will we decide to holiday at home again? Will we forsake the Far East, the Caribbean, Australasia, Africa and South America for holidays closer to home?
2011 looks to be an expensive holiday year for many of us.