It has been all hands on deck at the start of 2010 with independent tour operator Premier Holidays recording its most successful January this decade. Holiday bookings were up 20.5 per cent for January 2010 compared to January 2009.
Holiday bookings to Faraway destinations have seen the biggest rise in sales - Thailand being an increasingly popular location - with an impressive 57 per cent rise in Thai holiday bookings this January compared to last year. Bookings to the USA have also seen a significant growth of 23 per cent year-on-year. When it comes to luxury travel, Premier Holiday customers are happy to splash out, with a reported 45 per cent increase in bookings for £8,000-£10,000 holiday packages.
Conversions are also on the rise across all Premier Holiday destinations and again, it is Faraway bookings which are leading the 58 per cent increase year-on-year. Conversion rates vary widely across the trade though with independent agents considerably outperforming the multiples whilst regional miniples such as Bath Travel in the South West and Althams Travel in the North West converting the highest number of quotes into bookings. Tactical offers with short booking times are driving holidaymakers to book Faraway destinations. Interestingly, while 48% of customers are keen to book and travel within three months to Thailand, booking and travel to the USA is much longer, with holidays been taken 7-9 months after booking, up 12% year on year.
“Holiday bookings for January have been extremely strong – the phones has been ringing non-stop this past month. Everyone, including the sales, marketing and product teams, has been on the phone helping agents with their bookings!
“We have seen bookings go through the roof with our customers eager to take advantage of the great offers we have.
“Compared to 2009, people are in a much more positive frame of mind and are booking early and looking forward to enjoying a great value holiday in 2010,” says Debbie Goffin, Head of Sales and Marketing at Premier Holidays.