Travel trade jitters

By | Category: Travel news

How late will you book your dream holiday?

In the last few days there has been a flurry of sales announced. British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa have all announced sales but they aren’t for summer, they’re for the autumn. They seem to start earlier every year but this year there is some other evidence to suggest a certain jitteriness in the travel trade.
The jitteriness is amongst the tourist destinations. In the old days – whenever they were – most people had booked their holidays well before the end of June and the only people who hadn’t were those last minute deciders. Usually the travel trade didn’t bother about them too much because the numbers were few. But in the last five years or so there are many more last minute bookers. More and more people are waiting much longer before deciding because there have been more holidays available than ever before; more flights and that has meant more discounts. Do tourist boards spread their promotional money over a longer period in order to entice us to visit them.
But this year there seems more nervousness amongst them. How can I tell? Because there are many more press trips on offer to writers who can get coverage in the press and other media. I know of writers who have been almost continually travelling for weeks. One has done so much that she has decided to travel no more until the autumn so that she might have time to write stories. Others have seen fellow writers two or three times a week at different press conferences, launches, lunches or events.
The strange thing about these events is not just that it seems to signify a desire to continually try and get a destination in front of readers, it is that it is difficult to get a story published quickly. CD-Traveller can be an exception because, being online, we put a new story up every day and a new feature every two days. But monthly publications have long lead times and because travel isn’t usually considered “news” it rarely appears the next day or even the next week. A six month delay insn’t unusual. Even with daily newspapers, stories can wait a while.
So the efforts that the tourist destinations are making now will reap benefits probably too late for late bookers now. Even if a story does get published quickly it may be too late for holidaymakers to be influenced by it. By the time a story appears and a reader talks it over with family or friends, a date which is convenient to all has to be decided and the that date has to be checked with tour operators, airlines of cruise ships to see if there is enough space and at a price the holidaymaker is prepared to pay.
So those tourist destinations that are sending almost daily invitations aren’t really planning for now, they are planning for the future aware that in this fickle business called travel, the name of their place needs to be seen by you as often as possible so that it is at the top of your list when you come to decide where to go.
It also means that there are likely to be bargains around if you are prepared to hunt for them.

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