Has the rain dance saved the lates market?

From: Steve Endacott

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London in the spring-time rain

For once the weather gods have smiled on the industry with the perfect combination of sunshine while families were at work or school, followed by a wet Easter and a constant barrage of grey skies and pouring rain ever since.

Even I’m sitting here planning a trip to get away from it.

More importantly, however, is the impact it may have on the peak summer school holiday period.

Although the government may be pushing the “staycation”, customers want relaxing sunshine as part of their holiday and the recent weather has hammered home how unreliable the UK weather is, which is likely to have strengthened demand for overseas holidays.

Another more obscure factor going in the industry’s favour is the lack of an England football manager.

We are only six weeks away from England’s opening game against France on June 11 and have you heard a mention of it?

The complete lack of hype this time around is a marked contrast to previous football tournaments, in particular the Euro 2008 in Germany when so many English fans jumped in cars, planes and trains to head out to watch it first hand.

Far fewer will be travelling to the less inviting Ukraine, so logically the impact on the nations holiday budgets will be less and even in the unlikely event England get to the final it will all be over by the July 1.

The most difficult part of managing lates yield is getting prices up from the £149 price points that dominate early season to £399 plus required post July 22 for school holidays.

The points above should help early season prices - and don’t forget that the Olympics do not start to after the schools have already broken up.

Hence although I do expect them to dampen demand, neither the Euros nor the Olympics will directly impact the crucial month of July
when prices need to be wound up quickly.

However, please don’t think I am saying this year’s lates period is going to be easy.

We are in the midst of a double dip recession and the year on year increase in fuel prices, while currency hedging has negated an benefit of the strengthening pound, means operators need to get £15 higher late holiday prices even to make the same losses as last year.

They say that every cloud has a “silver lining” and as we look up at the depressing cloud cover over the next few weeks, think of the job security they may be delivering to some parts of our industry.

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From Steve Endacott

I am the chief executive of On Holiday Group, having started out as commercial director of Airtours in 1991, before going on to be managing director for Inspirations Holidays Ltd. I then went on to be group managing director for My Travel and Going Places and also set up Holidays by Phone and Click with Technology, now named CWT Digital. I started my own business in 2004 and am well-known for my outspoken views, so make sure you leave comments and share your own thoughts here.

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