XL.com pushing first minute benefits

Unpredictable British weather and special deals for early bookings are
leading travelers to abandon late deals in favor of ‘first minute’ offers
according to XL.com.XL.com has seen growing numbers of holidaymakers booking vacations up to 15
months in advance, with record numbers making reservations when 2008
packages became available on the website.  Early in August the company made
holidays for summer 2008 available online and saw hundreds of customers
booking their 2008 holidays immediately.

Holiday bookings smashed last year’s advance sales for summer 07 by 100%
during the first week of going live, showing the public is unwilling to
chance another soggy British summer.  The top five destinations booked for
July 2008 were all destinations that boast guaranteed sun; Majorca, Sharm
El Sheikh, Tenerife, Rhodes and Turkey, with Benidorm, Lanzarote and Gran
Canaria close behind.  In addition to family holidays, thousands of one way
flights to Alicante, Faro and Malaga are being booked for next year with
customers rushing to snap up bargain seats to warmer climes.

Customers saved over 50% by booking holidays 15 months in advance, with
average seven night holidays normally costing £400 priced from £189.  One
way flights to Spain booked in July 07 for July 08 can be priced anything
up to 75% off when booked up to one month in advance of travel with the
majority of airlines and travel companies.

The biggest first minute holiday bookers were those from Manchester and
Glasgow, with bookings from this region up by 200% from last year.  People
from the South East of England were also keen to book flights from Gatwick
and showed an increase of 72% in advance bookings compared to last year.

Neil Mott, General Manager, XL.com, commented: “We believe ‘First Minute’
booking is the new holiday buzz word as savvy travelers are wising up to
the fact that some of the best offers are released up to a year in advance
- not necessarily at the last minute.  By signing up to our email
Newsletter, customers get advance notice of offers and incentives such as
free child places and free hotel upgrades, encouraging them to book through
XL.com sooner rather than later.”


He continued:  “We believe the psychological comfort of having holidays ‘in
the bag’ is a major factor accelerating reservations year on year.  The wet
weather may also explain this year?s staggering rate of bookings, as our
customers want as many sunny holidays to look forward to as possible.”

Mrs Grogan, 47, from Kent said: “I used to think booking last minute was
the best way to save money, but it’s definitely the other way round - I
saved over a thousand pounds booking my holidays in advance next year
through XL.com and got far more choice by picking the best resorts before
anyone else.  The kids can?t wait.”