What might be in store for travellers and holidaymakers this summer?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
a beach in the Canary islands

The Canary Isles and the rest of Spain may be a little pricier this year…

Recently we have had views about travel this summer from TUI, Thomas Cook, the online travel agency, On the Beach and Jet 2’s owners – the Dart Group.

What might be in store for travellers and holidaymakers?

TUI (who own First Choice, Falcon, JWT and the Crystal brands) says that their “focus is on hotels and cruises. While we used to be a trading company, we have now become developers, investors, and operators” they went on to say, “We know our customers. Our customers know us, and they trust the TUI brand. This should help us develop more and better service offerings and generate additional turnover” Overall, it says, bookings for summer 2018 among UK customers are broadly in line with the prior year, down 1% with average selling prices up 3%.

poster of Turkey saying expect more

… Turkey looks to be a cheaper alterbative according to the travel trade…

The summary of all that is we will pay a bit more our holidays, they are using the information they have about us to make the offers more personal and they are looking to sell as much of the holiday as they can, not just the flight and accommodation but excursions, transfers, parking foreign exchange and anything else they can think of. But if their sales are down either some rivals are taking business from them or fewer of us will holiday this year

The On the Beach Goup (their brands are On the Beach, Sunshine and ebeach and they claim to have 20% of all online beach holiday sales) reported that prices are broadly flat (no increases apart from the most popular areas is probably what this means) and it is seeing “strong bookings growth for summer 2018 departures” with much greater interest in the eastern Mediterranean (Turkey?)

Thomas Cook says that “customers’ appetite for a summer holiday abroad shows no sign of slowing down. We’ve taken early action to meet strong demand for destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean. This has enabled us to shift capacity out of the Spanish islands.” The reason for that is that higher prices are being charged in Spain due probably to the euro rising against the pound and demand from other countries. The company says that it is “rebalancing our programme towards higher margin destinations such as Turkey and Egypt.” Total bookings are up 8%, they say but average selling prices are lower due to shift from long-haul to medium and short-haul destinations.  Average selling prices are up 6%.

the pyramids of Egypt

…as does Egypt

The Dart Group (owners of Jet2.com and Jet 2 holidays) are more cautious in their trading update. They say “forward bookings in our Leisure Travel business for summer 2018 are presently satisfactory” which gives nothing away about where holidaymakers are booking and that “we remain cautious on pricing.” That probably means that they don’t think they can raise prices.

In summary I think I would sum up the views of all four companies as follows. Spain may be a bit more expensive than last year; there will be a revival in people taking holidays in Turkey and Egypt plus other less well-known places like Bulgaria and travel companies don’t feel that they can rise prices by very much except in certain places where they are being squeezed like Spain.

Perhaps the most interesting comment comes from Thomas Cook who see a shft from long-haul holidays to ones closer to home. Why should that be? Do we feel less confident of the future?

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