Comment: Pound’s strength is sterling for bookings

Comment: Pound's strength is sterling for bookings

Prices vary dramatically across the eurozone and it’s worth pointing that out to clients, says Andrew Brown, head of travel money at the Post Office

In recent weeks, the news 
agenda has been full of stories about economic recovery and 
the fact that wages are set to outstrip inflation for the first time since 2008.

When you add sterling’s surge in value against all major holiday currencies into the equation, there is good reason to believe that more people will consider trips abroad this summer.

Some will be returning to the overseas holiday market for the first time in years. This presents a great opportunity for agents to secure incremental business if they can provide advice not just about holiday packages offering the best value for money but also about destinations where the pound will be most powerful and where resort costs are low.

Their overall budget will be the most important consideration for these returning holidaymakers. While an all-inclusive package may be the obvious solution, it is not the only one, especially in Portugal and Spain.

Cheaper than 2009

Our latest Holiday Costs Barometer revealed that resort prices are over a third lower now than five years ago when many of these people will last have afforded an overseas holiday. This means that it may actually be cheaper to book a B&B package and eat out in local restaurants than to go all-inclusive.

However, prices vary quite dramatically across the eurozone and it’s worth pointing that out to clients. They may be tempted by the package price without realising that local costs could inflate the holiday budget quite significantly.

Spain and Portugal remain great eurozone value-for-money destinations, and prices are well down in Cyprus. However, in the French and Italian resorts we surveyed, prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples cost almost twice as much as they do in the Costas or the Algarve.

A 30% fall in the value of the Turkish lira has made resorts like Marmaris and Fethiye great value this year. Bear in mind, though, that prices for tourist commodities vary from one resort to another in Turkey as they do in most other countries.

The Holiday Costs Barometer on our website reveals some of these variations and agents can check them out so that they are well placed to help customers make decisions that will best suit their pocket.

Money-saving tips

There are plenty of ways that clients can save money on holiday. Inevitably, the smartest beachfront restaurants are not likely to offer the cheapest prices. Nor will à la carte dining. Eating from the lunchtime set menu is a better plan, as is ordering carafe wine and draft beer rather than bottles.

Advise clients paying in a resort shop or restaurant with a credit or debit card to say ‘no thanks’ if asked to pay in sterling rather than the local currency, as sterling payments carry an extra charge.

Providing sound advice on destination choice and offering cost-cutting tips could help agents to reap future bookings.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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