November to be biggest booking month since February, predicts Co-Op Travel
by Jessica Pook
Travel agency members of the Co-Op Travel Consortium, part of Midcounties Co-operative, were told to expect "pent-up demand for peaks" during its virtual conference last week.
The online event was attended by 80 delegates from more than 70 agencies, who were given valuable insights and product updates from a supplier panel which included Steve Williams from MSC Cruises, Alan Cross from Jet2Holidays, Brad Bennetts from easyJet Holidays, Nick Hughes from GoldMedal/Travel2 and Alistair Rowland of Blue Bay Travel.
The panellists were equally optimistic about 2021, telling agents they plan to take an aggressive approach to peaks and, collectively, predicting that a more normal holiday booking pattern will return by March/April 2021.
Alison Holmes, Head of Co-Op Travel Consortium, presented trend data as well as insights gleaned from the October cluster meetings, to help prepare members for peaks.
She said: “Our research and the findings show there is an abundance of pent-up demand out there and, in many cases, customers are looking to upgrade their holiday for 2021, or even take two breaks rather than the usual one, because they missed out on a getaway this year.
“Rail holidays are selling well, demand for winter beach holidays has increased, potentially because customers didn’t manage to get their beach fix in the summer, and we’re seeing that customers want to book with suppliers who offer flexibility.”
She added: “We’re feeling optimistic about recovery in the new year. The positive news that is continuing to come out regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, the recent announcement of the new test to release quarantine system, and the opening of travel corridors to some of our favourite long-haul destinations is already having a positive effect on bookings.
"Sales overall for Co-op Travel Consortium for November are strong so far, and it looks like it will be the biggest month for sales since February.”