Published on Monday, January 13, 2020

Agents and operators report strong start to peaks

Tour operators and agents are reporting strong sales as the industry enters the third week of peaks.

Gold Medal claims its sales reached record numbers in the first week of the year with over £1 million in sales via its call centre on January 4, widely known as Sunshine Saturday.

This, combined with a significant increase in sales via the website, represented a 15% year-on-year increase for that day.

Sunday January 5 was also a strong day with the operator seeing a 25% growth on the previous year.

Gold Medal said a key contributor was its Orlando 2021 programme, which went on sale at the earlier date of January 3.

The programme offers agents guaranteed pricing on all packages booked for travel throughout 2021, flying with Virgin Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Jet2holidays said its trade sales are up year-on-year for peaks.

"We know how hard independent travel agency partners are working to drive sales, and it goes without saying that everyone at Jet2holidays is grateful for your support," it told agents via Facebook.

It said its marketing campaign, based on a 'Hold My Hand' theme, includes an 'all-important' message to consumers to 'Visit Your Local Independent Travel Agent'.

TUI refused to disclose specific figures but said demand for 2020 is already strong with the family market particularly buoyant for summer holidays.

It said Greece, Balearics and Turkey remain the most popular choices so far for beach breaks and Mexico for long haul.

"North Africa has proved popular for value and year-round sun, and with Tunisia already back in the mix and Sharm El Sheikh returning to our programmes from Glasgow and Edinburgh in November, we expect strong performance in this region to continue," said a spokesman.

"We've also seeing an emerging appetite for solo travel, particularly with the over fifties, with online searches increasing by 18% last year and around 20% of our programme of TUI Tours booked by solo passengers."

Meanwhile, Global Travel Group reported double digit growth in year on year sales and said the outlook for the rest of the peaks period looks positive.

Managing director Andy Stark said much of the success is down to members ensuring they have put the right preparations in place to secure a strong early involvement in the Christmas sales period.

"We have had a strong and encouraging start to peaks with initial sales from our member agents up year on year for the first week. The performance from our members is testament to their hard work and I hope will help lay the foundations for a positive year ahead. More complex itineraries and adventure tours are selling particularly well and we expect this trend to continue throughout 2020 as growth in the popularity of bespoke holidays remains strong.

"The winter 19 season, which continues until May 2020 and accounts for around 30% of our market share, has seen double digit growth year on year. In particular ski holidays, as expected for this time of year, have seen a positive increase, much of which has been supported by a strong portfolio of winter destinations and last minute sales. Likewise the summer 20 season which represents 50% of our market is also seeing growth year on year.

He said cruise has taken a strong share of the market and also seen an uplift in sales compared to last year.

"Looking at destinations Spain and Turkey continue to be the favourites for short haul, whilst the USA and UAE are leading the tables for long-haul," he added.


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