Agents are seeing some “green shoots” for the late summer market with bookings starting to come through.
Although most bookings continue to be for departures in late-2020 and 2021, some consumers are willing to take advantage of cheap deals for August 2020, despite uncertainty over the UK’s 14-day quarantine and Foreign Office (FCO) advice against all non-essential travel.
Kelly Cookes, leisure director of the Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “The majority of bookings have been for late 2020 and 2021, but we’ve started to see some summer bookings coming through now.
“There are more offers coming through for late in the summer – from August onwards. Good prices are helping – we need prices to be keen to stimulate bookings.
“There are more and more green shoots – if we get some of those air corridors, there will be pent-up demand as people want to travel.”
Advantage has also set up a closed Facebook group to give members access to the best available deals this summer.
Gary Lewis, chief executive of The Travel Network Group (TTNG) said its members had so far seen only a “scattering of bookings through August”.
“Until we get clarity on the quarantine and FCO advice, we’re not going to see a surge in bookings for this summer,” he added.
Tony Mann, from Idle Travel, said the agency had received a “few” bookings to the Med in August since reopening the agency on Monday (15 June).
“We’re starting to see some new bookings for people to travel soon – from August,” he told TTG. “On Tuesday, we had five bookings to the Med this summer. During the previous three to four weeks, it had been predominantly bookings in 2021.”
Helen Parry, director of Arundel Travel, said that while they were not actively promoting summer 2020 to clients, she had noticed “some amazing deals” in the market.
“Now we need the quarantine to be lifted – air bridges would make a massive difference,” she added.
Simon Morgan, boss of Tailor Made Travel in South Wales, said its bookings continued to be largely for travel next year with his shops fully opening on Friday (19 June) after operating for 10 days on a “locked doors” basis.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in demand and customer confidence. We’ve had £1 million in bookings in the last 10 days – predominantly for 2021 travel,” he said.
Lisa Lightly, branch manager of East of England Co-op Travel in Tiptree, Essex, also reopened to customers on Monday.
“We’ve had a really pleasing response and customers are glad to see us back. We’re operating a system with no more than three people in the shop at one time,” she said.
“We’re starting to see new bookings coming in, so that’s really positive. Having the branch open creates awareness and it’s just about building confidence back. Hopefully there’s a bright future to come.”