How time flies! January is always a busy month for our business, both in terms of sales and with the team implementing the plans we have been working on for the past few months. However this year the month seems to have flown by even more quickly. January may not be as critical a booking month as it used to be a few years ago, but it is still a very important indicator of how the year is going to turn out. There are plenty of people who like to plan and book early to ensure they receive their first choice of holiday dates and accommodation and so we have been pleased to see sales levels so high.
Jersey’s TV advertising campaign has been on air since the middle of the month and has certainly made an impact. I am a member of an advisory group that assists with the strategy and planning for Jersey Tourism – the island’s tourism marketing office. There is always a great debate over when is the right time to run TV advertising. Do you launch early on in the year and reach people whilst they are in the early stages of planning and selecting their holiday, or do you wait and run the advertising later when many people are actually booking. There’s no perfect answer – ideally we would be running our advertising all year! However the island’s tourism budget does not quite run to that. I reckon they have got it about right – but only time will tell.
The news from the high street continues to cause concern for many in the industry. The major travel retailers are reporting a double digit drop in sales for the first half of January, compared to last year, so it does seem as if the economic situation is resulting in a more cautious approach from consumers towards booking holidays. However a recent survey also showed that when faced with cutting back on disposable income, the annual holiday was regarded as one of the last items to be cut from the list. As always, we will respond to the changes in demand – but so far it is good to see that we are not seeing the decline that other areas of the travel industry appear to be experiencing.
Another report published today, suggested that 12% of Britons are planning to go on holiday during the Olympic Games, specifically to escape them. Of course, if you come to the Channel Islands you can have the best of both worlds – enjoy a holiday and watch the Games on the BBC. I wonder what your plans are? Do let us know.