Current travel restrictions are often a subjectoffdiscussion. ABTA North West Chair & MD of Henbury Travel, Richard Slater spoke to Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5 live. Below is a summary of the interview in Richard's words.
Richard called for the Government to give clarity & context to their messages, saying that Nicky travel is not just for holidays, but also for family travel, going to see your relatives in Australia or the US or NZ, we'll all missing them, and travel is for business & industry too.When the Government says "don't book a holiday", what does that actually mean? UK, Europe, Long Haul, not til 2022/3?
There is just no context, and we have asked the Government to be clearer with their messages, lets face it, we all need a holiday after year we've had.A recent survey showed 50% of the "holiday enjoyment" is the planning and anticipation, it gives you something to look forward to, and is good for your mental health.
Being industry veterans with over 50 years' experience, we fully understand that not everyone is ready to travel, and you can see in our marketing that we are being cautious in the dates and destinations we are offering, because we know that these restrictions (in some form or another) will be ongoing for some time to come, but that doesn't mean you can't book a holiday, it just means you need to seek expert human advice.
Having said that, there is a pent up demand like we have never seen before, and right now we are seeing dozens of new clients who want the advice and support of their "family owned local travel agent", in fact 80% of new bookings last week were from clients who had previously booked online, or did a DIY package, & when asked, they say that now more than ever they want guidance, advice, an expert on hand, and financial piece of mind, and actually have human interaction when booking.
They also wanted guidance with all the new formalities of travelling, and of course we have this all to hand.Interestingly, holiday companies & tour operators have also reported big spikes in clients booking through agents rather than directly, with 2 of the big three sunshine operators telling us their agent share has increased by 30% since Christmas, its a win win for clients as there are lots of "agent only" offers available now too.
Holidays are now on sale up to December 2022, and we suggest that demand will be strong, and recommend having a chat with us about your plans, if you book for 2022, and things change in 2021 and there is the opportunity for travelling later in 2021, we can either amend your current booking forward, or find you a last minute holiday, "here today, gone tomorrow".
In the meantime we do support the Government restrictions, short term to reduce the spread, but it is too little to late, but we must see a reduction to protect the people.We are in constant contact with clients regarding current bookings, in many cases clients are pushing their booking back later, and some are requesting refunds if and when the booking is cancelled, which we fully understand, as things are tight at the moment for some.
You may also want to check out this link from the BBC