After months of despair and speculation we are hours away from knowing where the first destinations are going to be open to consumers. At 17.00 today (five hours at time of writing this) Mr Grant Shapps will hold a press conference to share his list of destinations we can now book and travel to in 10 days time.
So what does this actually mean for customers, travel agents, tour operators, hotels and the destinations they all serve.
Customers – Travel has been on everyone’s lips for months now. We all desire a break away from the norm, time away from our screens and time to spend with family in a relaxed, and often warm environment. We are normally quite choosy on where we go. We are of course all different, but many are bigger fans of Greece over Spain and vice versa, some people prefer Portugal, others have fell love with Iceland and Malta. Many prefer far flung destinations and bucket list trips. This weekend customers behaviour will be vastly different. Their choices are going to be driven by one simple fact….where is green. The big debating point will be price…What will the true cost be when demand is through the roof?
Travel Agents – So what difference does this make for travel agents. Most professional agents have a wide knowledge on product and a wide range of tour operators and suppliers to choose from. I guess the biggest challenge will be dealing with the immediate short-term demand from customers. I expect many will be having the busiest weekend since pre pandemic….We hope you all have enough coffee in stock to keep you going.
Tour Ops and Destinations – Mixed here as it depends completely on the range of product you have. The big guys – Jet2, Tui, easyJet etc have capacity in all and I suspect are paused ready to shift that capacity swiftly to make hay while the sun shines. The larger airliefate is again driven by their usual routes and ability to pivot. For other more specialists operators this weekend will be a game changer. If you are a Greek specialist and no green for you it will be another long wait. If you are a Malta specialist and get the green it could be a booking bonanza. One thing is for sure all eyes will be on the news today. The UK market is so big and so important to many places that It really does matter to many.
However this weekend affects you we hope you get through it and lets all pray for a long list of destinations to give as much of our sector the much needed boost of not only revenue but much needed morale.