Holiday booking surge expected post-Olympics
Operators such as Superbreak and Mark Warner have already seen interest grow post-games, with the latter benefitting from holidaymakers keen to be active. Tim Locke, head of marketing at Mark Warner said agents have been enquiring about its sailing, tennis and windsurfing holidays following the success of Team GB. Bookings for its LTA-approved tennis courses and windsurfing courses are up 17% and 20% year-on-year respectively.
Domestic operator Superbreak has already seen post-Olympic sales through travel agents increase 10% and expects demand to boost after both the Olympics and Paralympics. Some operators including Families Worldwide, have also seen families hold out on summer altogether and book holidays in October half term.
“Everyone will agree that London is looking amazing at the moment and every day of the Olympic coverage some of our key attractions, venues and buildings have been showcased at their very finest. I have no doubt that this will spark heightened interest in visiting London and we want agents to do everything they can to drive sales this autumn,” said Graham Balmforth, national sales manager at Superbreak.
Business travel is also set to grow in the autumn, with the British Business Embassy holding events with businesses from past and future Olympic hosts China and Brazil to generate money and investment in the UK.
“We are already seeing a rise in business travel for this Autumn with export-lead clients feeling a lot more bullish about Britain’s global reputation as a result of successful way in which the Olympics has been organised – and they want to make the most of this halo effect by as quickly as possible,” said Tony Hughes, commercial director EMEA at Omega World Travel.
While media reports have suggested London has been empty, recent data from hotel market analysts STR Global has said occupancy across the city is up 3.2% to 87.7% between 27 July and 5 August this year compared to the same dates in 2011. The average room rate rocketed 87.1% on average to £216.42.
In addition, tourism on London’s rivers and canals is said to have received a boost as travellers head into east London, boosting tourism into an area visitors do not usually head to. As football host cities, Cardiff, Coventry, Manchester and Newcastle have all seen occupancies rise, with the former two seeing the biggest boosts of 40.3% and 43.7% respectively.
Balmforth said Superbreak expects late August and September to be busier for stays in London, particularly due to the number of new hotel openings in the capital.
However, further anecdotes within British tourist boards indicate that destinations outside of London have seen a benefit from either residents getting away from the games, or the influx of international visitors.
Speaking at a VisitEngland event earlier this week, Lady Penny Cobham, chairman of VisitEngland said the capital had been a ‘victim of its own success’ in warning how busy its transport could be.
“London has suffered in the past one or two weeks but this has seen more people head to areas outside of the capital,” she said. She added there is confidence that tourism will bounceback, particularly into 2013, and it has hosted around 35 fams in recent weeks off the back of the games.
John Penrose, minister of tourism and heritage added he was struck by the Olympic houses and business that was being done. Such is the popularity at some houses that Africa Village was forced to shut down on Wednesday when it ran out of money having seen 80,000 visitors, and Austria House Tirol at Trinity House has seen around 40,000 drop by.