Winter 2019/20 is fast approaching and now that the school holidays have come to an end, travel agents and tour operators can expect the usual annual upturn in bookings. With the travel landscape being so changeable, we have outlined the big travel trends for this coming winter.
Last Minute Bookings
We all love having a holiday to look forward to, but skiers are becoming more and more savvy to late deals and instant bookings. 49% of skiers booked with less than one month to go during the 18/19 ski season and there is no shortage of reasons why. Unpredictable snowfalls, uncertain politics and a real appetite to the get the best deals will be at the forefront of skiers’ minds this winter. Another trend of trying niche resorts plays into this; if the snow isn’t looking good in your first choice resort, skiers are more and more willing to risk it and try somewhere new.
What this means for the travel industry: Guests with a last-minute mentality will decide they want to go away and be booked up within a matter of hours. If your system has a live search you’ll arrive on to work on a Monday morning with a flurry of bookings rather than enquiries from people that have already booked elsewhere. Make sure you have live functionality and secure those last-minute bookings today!
Long Weekends and Flexible Stays
53% of global travellers surveyed say they plan to take more weekend trips next year, and this goes for ski breaks as well as city breaks. Thanks to improvements in booking technology, guests know that they can find availability when they want and where they want. The list of short transfer resorts is never-ending and it’s increasingly possible to fly out after work on a Thursday or Friday, bag a couple of days on the slopes and be back in work early the next week.
What this means for the travel industry: You need to make sure you have access to the widest range of product with instant availability responses. Speak to Powder White today to get access to our industry-leading portfolio of online bookable ski product.
The Instagram Factor
Us ski fans know that there’s not much better than a bluebird day on the slopes. No matter where you are, the views are incredible! That said, not all ski companies use their own channels to show just how ‘Instagrammable’ the mountains can be (is that a word?). If you’re looking to capture the attention of those consumed by wanderlust, a strong website and social media presence is a must. After all, who wouldn’t love the Matterhorn or Mont-Blanc as their selfie backdrop?!
What this means for the travel industry: Make the most of your social media accounts and online presence. If you look like you’re having fun in the Alps, the bookings will follow. If this means an educational trip or two to the mountains, we’re not going to complain…
This is an obvious one. The environment has taken centre stage in every aspect of our lives in recent years. From cutting down on single-use plastics to offsetting carbon emissions, sustainability is more important than ever. For skiers, the environment is arguably even more important as we see the effect it has on snowfall each year. Ways to reduce your carbon footprint include taking the Eurostar to the Alps or even getting creative and foregoing your lift pass in favour of some hardcore ski touring!
What this means for the travel industry: Cutting out flights is a really obvious way to boost your green credentials and it’s never been easier with trains running regularly from London and Ashford at 186mph straight to the foot of the Alps. This year there are two trains a week and an extra one for February half term. Ski and board carriage is free and you’re within spitting distance to world-class ski areas like the Espace Killy, Paradiski and of course Les 3 Vallées! Why not speak to Powder White about offering flexible packages, and ditch the plane this year!
With the dawn of better and better online booking solutions, skiers (and travellers more generally) are more and more confident of booking their holiday independently. In this landscape, it is so important for travel professionals to move with the times. If you’re stuck trying to sell an all-inclusive holiday or an old-school packaged holiday where Guest A feels like Guest B and Guest C, with no real uniqueness to their trip, conversions are going to drop.
What this means for the travel industry: You should be offering dynamic packaging where guests can turn to you for every aspect of their holiday BUT they don’t feel like they have to. Research shows that guests don’t want to be hamstrung to their holiday organiser for every aspect of their trip, but in reality, they will book multiple separate aspects of their trip from a holiday provider they trust.