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Travel industry news

20 Dec 2018

BY Jennifer Morris

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Freedom Conf: Brexit an opportunity for ‘booking urgency’

Brexit has presented an opportunity for agents and operators to “create urgency” around booking holidays in the next few months.

Jen panel at Freedom conference
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“Everybody needs a solution and one way or another I’m confident there will be one. I’m fairly confident that we won’t see a huge hike in prices, either.”

That was the message of Jess Dennison, director and co-founder of operator Latin Routes, speaking on a panel chaired by TTG at the Freedom Travel Group conference in Lapland, Finland earlier this month.


“There is this cloud about Brexit, but for us it’s more trying to reassure clients about what might happen,” she said.


“I don’t think Brexit will have a big impact on the British holiday market, but in the next two or three months I think there’s a real opportunity for all of us to create some urgency around booking holidays.”


Dennison said Latin Routes had set out in its clauses and terms and conditions that there will be no surcharges or changes in exchange rates, whatever happens with Brexit.


“It’s a really good tool for you guys to say ‘book now, we’re securing these prices’,” she said.


She advised: “Talk to tour operators to see what their clauses are – especially going into peaks.“


Phil Gardner, sales and e-commerce director at Thomas Cook, said Brexit presented a further opportunity for agents to offer prospective clients some reassurance.


“From a Freedom perspective, right now there is nothing dramatic changing on price – I haven’t seen any operator make a significant move,” he said.


“You have to treat it as ‘business as usual’. People are worried about [Brexit], but a couple of things work in your favour – people want to go on holiday and will very much respond to comfort and service.


“The level of reassurance you can provide through good service is arguably more important than ever, and for this audience we’re already very good at that, so we shouldn’t change it.”


From a Thomas Cook perspective, Gardner said it was also business as usual.


“The most important thing is the flying, so in many ways as a business we’re quite pleased with some of the progress that’s been made recently because there is at least some development and thinking going into what it might look like,” he said.


“We don’t think it will dramatically affect people buying holidays.


“Regarding a hard Brexit, there’s a bit of a standoff politically, but the flying agreement won’t be like that.


“Everybody needs a solution and one way or another I’m confident there will be one. I’m fairly confident that we won’t see a huge hike in prices, either.”


Chris Oakes, head of sales at consolidator Faremine, advised the industry needed to be resilient: “If the exchange rate changes, it changes. People will still book holidays and book holidays with you.”

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