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Industry Insight from Andy Stark – MD

Industry Insight from Andy Stark – MD

According to a piece I read last week, one in five of us admits to hating Christmas and one in three of us will be relieved when it is over.
Now I’m not a secret Grinch; I enjoy Christmas as much as the next person, but I can’t help thinking that I would prefer a little less of the sleigh bells, tinsel and Mariah Carey on the radio. For me, Christmas is a chance for us all to take a well-earned break, relax with friends and family and recharge our batteries ahead of – what is for the travel industry – a very busy period. So before you all head off to the many Christmas parties on the agenda, I thought I’d share a little Christmas wish list of my own for the travel industry this coming year…

Training
Keep it coming! Suppliers do a fantastic job of offering training for agents, be that online quizzes or the opportunity to join them on fam trips. Whilst there doesn’t tend to be much convincing required to get people on a fam to the Caribbean for a week long
trip, we can’t forget the fantastic training available online at our finger tips. Suppliers are throwing money at ensuring agents are as prepared as possible for the traditional turn of year booking frenzy, so take 30 minutes to brush up on your knowledge for
those January opportunities. Training is always a good investment, push your staff to do it and get them turn of year ready.
Opening hours
I’ve long banged the drum about now being the time for High Street agents to re-look at the opportunities they have when reaching out to the maximum number of potential customers. With the 24-hour accessibility of online travel booking sites, is next year the year that agents have their front doors open as much as possible including bank holidays and early evenings? Atol and industry travel regulation changes As travel agents we have to keep enforcing and educating our customers on the often confusing grey
areas of the legislation. With geopolitical disturbances out of everyone’s control, it’s more important than ever to book through an agent who can protect the holiday. The direct relationship between agent and customer is more important than ever as customers require advice and reassurance from an expert.
Events
We have the Olympics in Rio and Euro 2016 in France coming up next year, both of which offer great opportunities to capitalise on the wider news agenda and channel sales into those markets. Whether it is families looking to extend a break post watching the
Olympics, or a group of mates looking for an adrenalin rush at the footy, the sports holiday market looks set to go from strength to strength next year. As customers taking multiple short breaks in the same year continues to rise, now’s the time to capitalise on
festivals and the city break trend. And there you have it, my Christmas wish list. If Santa could throw in a win for Sheffield United and Jennifer Aniston under the tree, I promise I’ll be nice all year long.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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