What’s a hungry market look like? Try the two letters of “UK,” where average booking values for one travel group for the summer of 2023 are up by 46 percent.
It’s been like that of late—the above figure is from a survey by Advantage Travel Partnership, UK’s largest network of independent travel agents—as agencies and operators are feeding a demand curve that they sensed was on the way earlier this year. They could tell by its shortage of tourism industry employees, cancellations of flights that had no pilots to fly them and reports of record-breaking sales both online and on high street.
For those who are selling Visit USA product, the impact has been a quick run-up to monthly data reports that use the word “million” to describe the level of British visitors coming to the United States and making it the number one overseas source market for long-haul travel to America. INBOUND has digested some of the validating numbers and news, and they follow:
- Average prices for like holidays have risen 20 percent to 25 percent year-on-year, which follows on from an average price increase of 11 percent this year over 2019.
- Chief Commercial Officer Kelly Cookes told the British trade publication, Travel Gossip, that this was due in part to rising air fares and hotel price increases, but also the fact that customers are upgrading their holidays or staying for longer.
- While higher prices and the cost-of-living crisis don’t seem to be impacting bookings yet, Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of Advantage, noted: “The reality is that for our member it is pretty tough.” Many have lost and been unable to replace experienced staff, she said, and bookings are taking longer to convert and service because customers have so many more queries than previously.
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Just Gotta Travel—A report from TTG media said that the majority of British travelers still plan to go on holiday in the next 12 months despite the fact that 92 percent of respondents to a new survey admitted they had anxiety about the rising cost of living. In fact, the attitude of holidaymakers is sufficiently bullish with regard to travel, that only 10 percent of survey respondents said that they don’t expect to travel.
- More than two-thirds (68 percent) of those questioned by Travel Republic, which conducted the survey, reported that more than two-thirds of those questioned said they still plan to holiday in the foreseeable future, even if they spend a little less when they do.
- The 10 percent who are not traveling said it is due to concerns about household bills.
- Thirty percent of Travel Republic’s customers said they don’t expect rises in the cost of living to impact their holidays plans, with 36 percent stating they will still travel but plan to spend less than they have previously done so.
- Fifty-nine percent of respondents said that being able to pay in monthly instalments was an attractive option for dealing with costs while 48 percent surveyed said it was in choosing their holiday based on the lowest price.