Jane Atkins, managing director at Shearings Holidays, writes for ABTA Magazine about the potential of domestic holidays ahead of ABTA’s new UK Holiday Market event.
As holidays to the UK continue to grow in both selling price and volume, thus earning agents more commission, ABTA’s UK Holiday Market event is timely. The agenda is varied and will cover all forms of domestic holidays with some heavyweight keynote speakers.
When selling the UK, the important thing for agents to realise is that UK holidays are not substituting the more expensive overseas holiday. Customers generally take several holidays a year, so promoting the UK as well as destinations further afield is important. If a travel agent can use UK products to attract new customers, then it is highly probable they will book again with them if they receive great service and advice.
In the case of Shearings Holidays, we have a very high repeat booking level of over 60 per cent, so it is more than likely that agents will get more bookings during the year as a result of the first sale. Although the average booking value may often be lower on a domestic holiday, the lifetime value of the customer is excellent, plus of course many will recommend the agent to family and friends.
In order to make the most of the opportunities that this sector offers, agents must ensure they know all the different products that are available to book. I can’t stress enough the value of going on UK educationals when offered by operators. Then they should use social media to share this knowledge – tell customers what’s hot in the UK right now and what events are coming up. Be the expert and recommend the right product to the right customer.
We are also seeing huge investment in UK product and booking platforms from operators. At Shearings we executed a capital investment plan for 2018, which has seen us ensure that the product is fit for purpose moving forward and is future-proofed. UK holiday customers are now so widely travelled that they expect the same choice and offering here in the UK. We have refurbished and upgraded hotel rooms, added new coaches and introduced wi-fi and entertainment packages on board.
On the basis that knowledge is power, agents who would like to learn more about the UK holiday market should come along
to ABTA’s UK Holiday Market event and hear from experts just what it has to offer.