Brits are continuing to prioritise holidays over everything else, says holiday firm Not Just Travel, as August proves to be a record-breaking month – despite there still being two weeks to go.
Thanks to late sales and bumper bookings into next year, mid-August figures are already up 25 per cent year-on-year. Consumers are spending more on holidays as average booking value is also up an average of £607 per booking.
Nearly half of bookings (46%) is for last-minute holidays. 31% is for winter 23/24. 81% of bookings are for adults only i.e. couples and older travellers. Cruise sales are 2.5 times greater than this time last year.
“This month so far we’ve paid more commission to our travel consultants than ever before. Sales are simply staggering,” says co-founder Steve Witt.
“August is traditionally a slow month in terms of holiday bookings but many of our consultants have been busier than ever.”
Not Just Travel has enjoyed record-breaking months both in terms of holiday sales and travel franchisee recruitment as people capitalise on the travel boom and train as homeworking travel consultants. Every month since August 2022 has broken previous sales records. The homeworking travel company is recruiting at its fastest ever pace – with a new franchisee joining almost every working day since March – most with no prior experience in travel.
As reported in Travel Weekly this week, the June UK consumer sentiment survey by PwC found confidence had improved from a low of minus 44 points last September to minus 13, in line with the long-term average since 2008. It found that holidays remained one of the strongest consumer categories.
Ellen Scott, partner at PwC consulting business Strategy& said: “Travel is a priority and demand is stronger than people could have hoped early in the year. The premium end of the market is going strongly and travel demand is particularly strong among those aged 55 and over – the group most positive about household finances.”
In the first week of August, husband and wife team Not Just Travel consultants Colman and Rachael Coyne sold seven cruises – one a day. At the beginning of the month, agent Paula Warden booked six cruises in just one day.
Franchisee Lloydie Gardiner has already taken over 29 bookings worth £127k in total, many package holidays for 2024.
“I”ve had the best August I’ve ever had and it’s the second best month I’ve had this year and there’s still two weeks left to go. It feels like January Peaks has come early. I’ve already beaten my target of £122k and I’ve got so many quotes to catch up with that I’ve set myself a new target of £200k this month.”
Big bookings continue to be commonplace while group bookings appear to be a growing trend.
David Walker made a single £105k booking to Bermuda this week plus an effortless £60,000 flight-only booking for 40 people over the weekend.
Michelle Poutch, who only invested in a travel franchise in April, secured a 42-person booking to Las Vegas worth £52k this week.
Like many new franchisees she made several bookings in her first week after just five days of virtual training.
Not Just Travel’s recruitment arm, The Travel Franchise has already added extra training places due to demand and is keen to train as many new consultants as possible before the peak booking period of Christmas – March, known as ‘Peaks’, when traditionally agents take four times more bookings than any other time of year.
Witt added, “If agents take four times as many sales than they have this month in August then they are looking at earning some pretty impressive commission for Peaks 2024.”