Has the rain dance saved the lates market?

Who needs a downpour in a drought? Well you won’t find many tour operators or bed banks complaining as the recent weather has caused sales to sore by 40% year on year.

For once the weather gods have smiled on the industry with the perfect combination of sunshine while families where at work or school, followed by a wet Easter and a constant barrage of grey skies and pouring rain ever since. Even I’m sitting here planning a trip to get away from it!

More importantly however, is the impact it may have on the peak summer school holiday period. Although the Government may be pushing the “Staycation”, customers want relaxing sunshine as part of their holiday and the recent weather has rammed home how unreliable the UK weather is, which is likely to have strengthened demand for overseas holidays.

Another more obscure factor going in the industries favour is the lack of an England football manager! We are only 6 weeks away from England’s opening game against France on June 11th and have you heard a mention of it? The complete lack of hype this time around is a marked contrast to previous football tournaments and particularly compared to Euro 2008 in Germany when so many English fans jumped in cars, plans and trains to head out to watch first hand. Many fewer will be travelling to the less inviting Ukraine, so logically the impact on the nations holiday budgets will be less and even in the unlikely event England get to the final it will all be over by the 1st July.

The most difficult part of managing lates yield is getting prices up from the £149 price points that dominate early season to £399 plus required post 22nd July for school holidays. The points above should help early season prices and don’t forget that the Olympics do not start till after the schools have already broken up. Hence although I do expect them to dampen demand neither the Euro’s nor the Olympics will directly impact the crucial month of July when prices need to be wound up quickly.

However, please don’t think I am saying this year’s lates period is going to be easy. It looks like we are in the midst of a double dip recession and the year on year increase in fuel prices, whilst currency hedging has negated an benefit of the strengthening pound, means operators need to get £15 higher late holiday prices even to make the same losses as last year.

They say that every cloud has a “Silver lining” and as we look up at the depressing cloud cover over the next few weeks, think of the job security they may be delivering to some elements of our industry.