As the Brexit shockwaves rumble on, Gill McCarthy, Airways Holidays’ sales director, is keen to sell the virtues of the Channel Islands to Katherine Lawrey.
It’s easy for the Channel Islands to fall between the cracks, says Gill McCarthy, sales director, Airways Holidays. “It’s not quite home and it’s not quite abroad,” she says. “Agents tend to wait for customers to come in and ask for Jersey or Guernsey, rather than proactively selling them.”
Once McCarthy has spent time training an agent on what the islands can offer for different clients, she notes an increased desire to proactively sell it. “I often hear agents say ‘I didn’t realise the Channel Islands had all that!’”
Access to the islands is straightforward, with flight links from regional airports all over the UK, using scheduled airlines and Airways’ own charters. Expert knowledge is another hook. McCarthy is the only team member based in the UK – the rest of the team is out in Jersey.
“Our reservation consultants know everything there is to know about Jersey and Guernsey, because they live there. The hotels, the events and the insider secrets that can really make a holiday.”
Now that there is rising demand for holidays in perceived “safe” destinations closer to home, and good availability for late August, McCarthy is on a mission to make sure that every agent remembers the Channel Islands this summer.
And with the country reeling from post-Brexit fall-out, she’s also quick to point out that there are no currency exchange rates to factor in, for longer term bookings there are no potential passport implications to worry about, and the islands have a reciprocal health deal with the mainland so no EHIC is required.
Here are McCarthy’s client-match suggestions for four customer types:
Book it: Three nights from £415pp (based on the Royal Yacht, Jersey, in October from Gatwick, including mud rasul treatment and massage).
Sell it: The Royal Yacht is a luxury, modern four-star hotel in an enviable position near St Helier marina. Close to the shopping, restaurant and bars. A hen group could look at adding other experiences to their trip, such as chocolate making at La Mare Wine Estate.
Book it: Five nights from £599pp (based on Jersey’s Talana Hotel departing August 25 from Manchester including Seafaris rib trip to the Ecrehous and wakeboard/ water ski session and jet ski session from Jersey Sea Sport Centre)
Sell it: Jersey is perfect for activity seekers. The sea is never more than 10 minutes away so you have plenty of coastal walks and cycling. There is a great choice of watersports and activities such as coasteering, kayaking and surfing.
Book it: Seven nights from £704pp (based on Guernsey’s St Pierre Park) departing Bristol on September 23.
Sell it: Late September is a great time to visit Guernsey and experience the International Food Festival. Starting September 23 and lasting 10 days, there will be promotions in restaurants and cocktail bars as well as markets and shows, and interactive events.
Book it: Seven nights by sea from £791 per adult, child goes free (based on B&B at the Merton Hotel in Jersey departing August 27 and standard size car on ferry).
Sell it: The Merton Hotel has an aqua-dome subtropical pool with slides, fountains and an outdoor pool, plus an indoor FlowRider. Creches and kids clubs also cater for children from babies to teens. If clients prefer self-catering, suggest a yurt in Durrell Wildlife Park or a five-star lodge with hot tub at Les Ormes.