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Travel Bulletin 2019

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holidayparks<br />

Sally Henry, sales director for Hoseasons, offers agents some top<br />

tips when it comes to selling domestic short breaks…<br />

IT’S HARD to believe that a whole ten<br />

years have passed since the term<br />

‘staycation’ was first picked up by the UK<br />

media as a way of describing the Great<br />

British getaway.<br />

Back then it had negative connotations, with people hit by<br />

the recession seen to be sacrificing their traditional<br />

overseas holiday for something cheaper and less exciting<br />

because they didn’t have the budget to go abroad. Things<br />

have changed…<br />

The investment in accommodation and facilities we have<br />

seen on home soil over the last decade means the<br />

‘staycation’ is no longer a fad, or a temporary trend born of<br />

necessity, but a positive choice for millions of British<br />

holidaymakers, who are just as keen to explore their own<br />

backyard when it comes to taking a break as they are to<br />

venture further afield.<br />

So how do agents make the most of this ongoing<br />

enthusiasm for holidays at home – and ensure they aren’t<br />

missing a trick when it comes to a potentially lucrative<br />

revenue stream?<br />

Short but sweet<br />

The starting point here is to fully appreciate the rise in<br />

popularity of the short break, which is something that has<br />

revolutionised the domestic market in recent times and had<br />

a huge impact on our own business.<br />

More than 70% of our total sales are now made up of<br />

short breaks as customers spread their holiday experiences<br />

throughout the year, rather than investing all their time and<br />

money in one big summer getaway.<br />

This presents a fantastic opportunity for high-street<br />

agents, who, armed with the right data should be able to<br />

sell the UK to their customers as maybe a second, third or<br />

even fourth holiday of the year. For example, a weekend<br />

away in the Cotswolds with the grandchildren might be a<br />

good suggestion while the customer counts down the days<br />

to the cruise they’ve just booked later in the year.<br />

Short breaks may be by definition shorter, but that<br />

doesn’t mean your customers will be prepared to<br />

compromise on quality. They still want to experience<br />

something better than they can get at home and explore<br />

the surrounding area.<br />

Investment in quality accommodation over the last<br />

decade has translated into higher booking values and<br />

greater commission. Those extra luxury touches make all<br />

the difference when trying to convert domestic short break<br />

sales – something we have seen most obviously in recent<br />

years in demand for our luxury lodges with hot tubs.<br />

Catch the eye of younger generations<br />

It’s not just the older generations who are booking short<br />

breaks. Younger travellers, keen to share an Instagrammable<br />

catalogue of experiences, are looking out for their next UK<br />

getaway. A survey by travel marketing specialists Thissaway<br />

found that more than 92% of millennials are open to going<br />

on a staycation, but only half feel that the UK is effectively<br />

marketed to them as a destination.<br />

Visit Britain’s micro-gapping campaign is a great of<br />

example of how the industry is taking the issue seriously<br />

and looking to better connect with younger travellers. Some<br />

high-street agents are looking to do the same by offering<br />

an “Apple” style retail experience and making their stores<br />

more interactive – but the battle for younger hearts and<br />

minds is also being fought online.<br />

We encourage agents to embrace technology, use social<br />

media and create digital content that truly sells the short<br />

break experiences they offer. Those who do are far more<br />

likely to succeed when it comes to capturing the next<br />

generation of domestic holidaymakers, than those who don’t.<br />

The prevailing thirst for certainty means there’s never<br />

been a better time to sell UK short breaks to UK customers<br />

– they’re a quick, convenient, and a fantastic way for every<br />

type of customer to enjoy a relaxing getaway with those<br />

who matter most. Agents just need to let their customers<br />

know they sell them!<br />

travelbulletin.co.uk April 12 <strong>2019</strong><br />

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