#1. Magazine boosts role of operator—says package holidays are cheaper. The widely read UK consumer magazine Which?—it refers to itself as a “consumer champion”—gave a boost for tour operators in a recent issue. Its research on the cost of a holiday indicated that the use of package holidays is cheaper than those put together on a “do-it-yourself” basis. In addition to the matter of overall cost, Which? said that a packaged holiday offers greater protection to the consumers than do-it-yourself booking offer.
As reported by Travel Weekly UK, the Which? study said that package holidays were better value in eight out of 10 cases. The magazine studied the price of the cheapest packages available online from five UK airports from both Jet2holidays and Tui and compared them with the cost of identical DIY holidays. “Holidaymakers opting for packages could save hundreds of pounds on the cost of their trip, while also avoiding the risk of losing their money if they can’t travel due to government restrictions, lockdown or if their airline or hotel goes bust.” For more on Which? and its work, visit https://www.which.co.uk/.
#2. USA is one of the top preferences in a survey of would-be travelers. The at-home travel agent group, Not Just Travel, has reported that it has experienced a 5 percent year-on-year increase in bookings on the back of a weekly spike in demand. While we don’t know what kind of methodology the group used in its survey, it is safe to say, on the basis of trade media accounts elsewhere, it is probably correct. There have been numerous testimonials from travel and tourism professionals suggesting that there is a substantial pent-up demand on the part of travel consumers. Not Just Travel reported a 62 percent increase in inquiries for the week ending Nov. 27, crediting the spike to positive news revolving about COVID-19 vaccine trials and the Christmas holidays ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Not Just Travel said that it is probable that the traditional post-Christmas peak booking period is being pulled forward as a result. (The early weeks/weekends are known simple as “The Peaks” for the UK travel industry.) The activity is good news for U.S. destinations and travel suppliers, as Not Just Travel reported that the top destinations booked for 2021-22 are the United States, Canary Islands, Dubai, Lapland and Maldives.
#3 Are cut-rate deals a sign of growing consumer confidence? The UK travel trade publication Travel Mole reports a “Glimmer of hope for operators as cut-price deals drive bookings upturn … as operators and airlines have released a fresh wave of cut price deals as hopes rise that consumer confidence may slowly be returning.”
TM said that, while the immediate picture remains bleak, with much of the winter market having been written off, “a rush of Black Market offers,” coupled with vaccine developments, a reduced quarantine period and news that consumers even in the harshest of post-lockdown tiers can travel overseas, has given consumers and operators a lift.
Overall, TM reported, Wendy Wu Tours, Virgin Atlantic Holidays, Newmarket Holidays, Icelandair, Cathay Pacific, Ryanair, TUI, On the Beach, EasyJet Holidays, and Virgin Atlantic, to name a few, have offered deals. “Operators hope the introduction of cut-rate price packages and flights, at a time when consumer morale is showing sign of improving, will clinch sales,” reported TM, with many bookings, it seems, for Q2 and Q3 dates.
#4. And now the glum news: A study of travel anxiety study has found that 70 percent of Brits feel nervous about the future of travel with COVID-19 still around. In what should come as no surprise to anyone in the tourism industry, the specialist travel insurance company Medical Travel Compared surveyed some 2,000 holidaymakers from across the UK to reveal the future of travel in a COVID-19 world. In a news release the company attached some numbers regarding everything from catching the virus abroad to having to quarantine upon arrival.
According to Medical Travel Compared: Despite the increase in COVID travel fears, just 1 in 4 Britons are concerned about having to quarantine when they arrive back home from a holiday abroad. Even fewer (6 percent) fear being tested for COVID-19 in an airport. Low morale around travel is evident, with the survey revealing that 48 percent think they won’t be able to travel as often as they would like to in the future as a direct result of the pandemic.
The research also unveiled what parts of traveling abroad the UK has missed the most this year. Tops was the weather—63 percent state they miss this aspect of travel the most. Exploring new places (62 percent) and downtime away from the day-to-day/a chance to relax and unwind (54 percent) took second and third places.