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Selling villa holidays: insights from four specialist operators

With villa holidays likely to bounce back quickly once travel restrictions lift, Abra Dunsby speaks to four villa specialists for their insights

Due to their private, self-contained nature, villas are likely to be a popular accommodation choice for clients who wish to holiday once travel restrictions are lifted.


Chris Wright, managing director at Sunvil and sister brand GIC The Villa Collection, says villas allow clients to have more isolated holidays compared to hotels or large resorts. “You can be very self-sufficient – you don’t need to socialise with other people, go out to eat or go to beaches if you have a pool.”


Here we speak to four villa specialists to glean their insights into booking trends, find out how they are supporting the trade and discover how they are preparing for customers to travel safely.

 

Bookings upturn


Bookings and enquiries have seen a recent increase for GIC the Villa Collection, Interhome, CV Villas and Onefinestay, most of which are for holidays in 2021.


“Having been dealing with a lot more cancellations than bookings in the last eight weeks, this week (w/e 22 May) is the first that we’ve seen more bookings than cancellations since lockdown began,” says Danny Waine, commercial manager at Interhome.

 

The majority (80%) of bookings are for summer 2021 and if travel restrictions continue to ease, Waine predicts a bump for this year’s lates market too.


Currently, Interhome’s most popular enquiries are for Spain, the Canaries, Greece, Croatia and "no-fly" destinations France, Belgium and the Netherlands.


The operator has also seen a boost in domestic travel enquiries, and has created agent product training accordingly.

 

“We’ve had lots of interest from agents for UK breaks especially in Devon, Cornwall and Scotland. Our UK product has always been popular from an inbound perspective but we foresee domestic becoming a bigger market for us too,” says Waine.


Interhome, GIC and CV Villas have all reported a healthy number of enquiries from 60+ clients. “Our demographic is generally older, so we were concerned they’d be reluctant to return but they seem to be more keen to travel if anything,” says Wright.


“A lot of our clients go back to Greece year after year and are desperate to see the people that they’ve made connections with and support the local economy.”

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