Blue Bay Travel has offered advice to agents as it reports a surge in bookings and enquiries for the first half of 2022.
The travel company sites being available to customers outside of the traditional working hours for its recent success as well as a significant bounce back in consumer confidence when it comes to international travel.
According to the travel company, summer ’22 departures dominated, accounting for 50% of the bookings made between January and end of May, followed by 25% for winter 22/23.”
“We’re thrilled with the buzz, excitement, and bookings [the lifting of travel restrcitions] has generated, says Abbie Heaton, Sales Manager for The Personal Travel Consultants in Partnership with Blue Bay Travel. “Our best day was January 31 where we transacted over £250,000 in revenue.
“This was much helped by a significant booking of almost £100,000 to Las Vegas! We also had a superb day on April 2 when we made £93,000 of sales. Our average booking value has been around £4,500.”
Meanwhile, booking trends revealed that for the first time ever, cruising proved to be Blue Bay’s biggest seller for March, April, and May.
“With many of the cruise companies increasing their promotional activity, there are some exceptional offers currently available and amazing incentives for agents. The outstanding value that cruises offer to customers has been a major factor in why we’ve had such a strong start to the year for cruise sales”, says Heaton.
According to booking trends, firm favourite Spanish Islands (Canaries specifically) was the second most popular destination in Q1 2022 closley followed by The Maldives and Mauritius.
Destinations which had low rates of Covid and lenient entry restrictions earlier on in the year, like Greece, also benefited from increased bookings.
And more recently, between March and May, Maldives moved up to the top spot, followed by Turkey and Dominican Republic.
And the rebounding travel market has seen a significant increase in independent lead generation from homeworkers, says Heaton.
“Historically, Blue Bay’s own customer leads have been responsible for generating up to 65% of the sales for our homeworking division. January to May, however, has seen a significant shift, with agents relying on only 35 – 40% of leads from Blue Bay PTCs and bringing to the table an excellent 60 – 65% of self-generated leads.”
Top tips offered by Heaton include:
· Take time to really understand your customer and listen to their needs. Your natural charm is your secret weapon so use your personality to break the ice.
· Dig deep to ascertain exactly what the customer wants to get out of their holiday. Help them to paint a picture of what their perfect holiday looks like and then show them how to get it.
· The customer is looking to you for the expertise and vast experience you can offer. Share your own experiences and destination knowledge to help set the scene
· Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale and address any concerns the customer might have to remove obstacles to booking. I was always taught – If you have three yeses the customer will book!
· Use “mirror matching” to build a connection with the customer, for example “So, Abbie, you said you like different restaurants, I have nine for you to choose from…”
Blue Bay notes that the peak time of day for bookings in recent months has been 5pm, when most retail agents are finishing for the day, so being available outside of working hours is reccommended.
Heaton adds: “We expect demand for summer 2022 to continue to be strong. That said, we released some amazing deals to Maldives & St. Lucia in June, which have flown for the winter 22/23 season! With all the rumours about increasing fuel prices and holiday prices customers are looking ahead to summer 2023, in order to lock in prices.”