Posts Tagged ‘summer holiday’

Thomas Cook reports dive in summer bookings

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Thomas Cook has announced that bookings for its summer holiday package deals have dropped by nearly a third for the two weeks ending 13 January. Although some analysts believe that this is the result of a lack of consumer confidence because of last year’s profit warnings and refinancing, the tour operator is saying that the fall in bookings was not totally unexpected.

The beginning of January is an important period for firms providing summer holiday packages. However, Thomas Cook said that it was currently concentrating on growing margins on those deals rather than capacity in an effort to cut its operating costs.

The firm has issued a statement in which it points out that its last bookings results were reported on 14 December when they were actually ahead of the market. The statement continues to say that because of the weakness in consumer sentiment at the time the plan was to reduce future capacity by around eight per cent.

The tour operator was also keen to point out that the UK bookings figures were not reflected by the company’s specialist arms or overseas operations.

Thomas Cook saw its shares dive by 75 per cent last year after a number of profits warnings, the departure of its chief executive officer and an announcement that it would be seeking £200 million in refinancing. The company said that sales had been hit by the political and social unrest in North Africa and natural disasters including the floods in Thailand.

Holidaymakers tighten their belts this summer

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

In order to keep the cost of this year’s summer holiday down, many Brits admit that they will be staying at home this year rather than travel overseas. A Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance survey indicates that only 45 per cent plan to pay for a foreign trip.

Among the cost saving strategies being employed by those who will be going overseas are booking a package deal so that most of the costs are already covered beforehand. The study found that 13 per cent would be looking for a self-catering option in order to keep expenditure down. Staying with relatives or friends was the belt-tightening choice for 13 per cent of respondents.

David Barrett, from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance, said that the majority of travellers were actively looking for holiday options which would keep costs to a minimum. He added that although most of us were refusing to give up on a holiday at a time when household budgets were being squeezed, tactics such as booking trips at the last minute to make sure we are getting the best deal were more widespread than in previous years.

The survey found that 23 per cent of travellers were not planning to make a booking until between March and June, and a further 10 per cent were going to wait until the high season – between July and September – before looking for a deal.

Summer holidays had already been booked by only 16 per cent of those intending to leave home in 2012.

Thomas Cook profits hit by household budget squeeze

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Shares in Thomas Cook have taken a tumble after the travel operator announced a warning on profits. The company is blaming the recent political troubles to have hit North Africa and the Middle East as well as a lack of consumer confidence in the UK. The travel firm said that the impact from a lack of summer holiday bookings to countries including Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt is likely to be much higher than initially expected.

Forecasts in the City were that operating profits for this year would be in the region of £380 million. However, Thomas Cook has warned the figure may be closer to £320 million.

Analyst with Peel Hunt, Nick Batram, said questions were not being raised over whether management made the wrong decisions or whether Thomas Cook’s business model needed to be thoroughly revised.

The group said that its team in the UK would be conducting an operational review as household budgets continue to feel the economic squeeze. It described trading conditions in Britain as difficult. Analysts are predicting that part of the review will mean the closure of some of the travel firm’s 750 branches on the high street.

Thomas Cook did say that trading in markets outside Britain had continued to be positive, adding that in Central and Northern European markets operations were performing well.

Margins are, however, being hit in the UK, as Thomas Cook is being forced to introduce large discounts to make sure that summer packages this year do not remain on the shelves.

Holiday prices slashed by travel firms

Monday, July 4th, 2011

In an effort to get more Brits travelling abroad this year holiday companies are reducing the price of their packages. The high price of fuel surcharges and taxes at airports along with the current economic climate have forced many families to forgo booking their traditional summer holiday.

This has meant that travel firms have been saddled with unsold holidays which they are now trying to get rid of. Bob Atkinson of travelsupermarket.com said the news was good for those who might have resigned themselves to staying at home. He explained that there are some deals on three-star hotels in Europe where a week’s stay costs as little as £300 all inclusive. Those who are prepared to go self-catering and be flexible with their travel dates will find even cheaper bargains, he added.

According to Ian Ailles, from travel firm Thomas Cook, there will be a daily review of the prices of holidays which means even more deals on holidays are likely to appear. Thomson is also slashing its prices. A week in Tunisia’s Port El Kantaoui which was £1,092 is now just £732 for two people.

Virgin Holidays is also cutting prices. A holiday to Barbados which was £1,960 has been reduced by 44 per cent to £1,059 for two people.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents explained that business travel and high-end holidays seemed to be recovering where the cheaper package deals were not doing so well. This is partly down to a lack of consumer confidence in lower income households.

Government proposes better holiday protection

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The government has announced plans which will offer financial protection to millions of package tour customers not already protected under the Air Travel Operators’ Licence scheme. Atol was established to cover travellers if they found themselves in a situation where the tour operator or airline they have booked with goes out of business.

Theresa Villiers, minister for aviation, said the government was looking into proposals which would see an extra six million holidays covered by the Atol scheme. She added that it was important that with the summer holiday season coming up more people should know that in the unlikely event that something goes wrong they are covered.

Villiers went on to say that in recent years it had become obvious that the Atol system needs to be revised and that the government had always been committed to doing just that. As well as ensuring that millions more holidays are protected by financial cover the plans being looked at by the government include ways to make the system more sustainable.

The scheme is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority whose chairman said she welcomed the government’s proposals. Dame Deirdre Hutton said they would make it easier for the consumer to see whether or not their trip is covered by providing greater transparency. They will also help customers to make a more informed decision, she added.

Dame Hutton went on to say that the current proposals were a first step in providing better financial protection to holidaymakers and further proposals would be produced by the CAA in the future.