Travel agents face a challenge to offset the 'Brexit effect' – which is expected to see Brits cut back on foreign holidays – with clever marketing and impressive offers.
It's no secret that the pound has plummeted against the US dollar and the Euro since the British public voted Leave in the EU Referendum.
In the first week of July, the pound sank to a fresh 31-year low against the dollar, with Morgan Stanley suggesting it could go even lower still in the coming weeks.
Independent insolvency firm Begbies Traynor expects these exchange rate fluctuations to put holidaymakers off from travelling abroad, which would be a huge blow to those agents who specialise in foreign holidays.
In fact, figures from the firm suggest it's already taking its toll on some. In the second quarter of 2016, a total of 921 UK travel agencies were suffering from 'significant' financial distress, an increase of 2% compared to the same stage last year.
However, we don't necessarily believe that it's an inevitability that we will see more agents suffering from the same. But the onus is on them to react before it's too late.
Here are a couple of marketing tips on how to offset the 'Brexit effect':
Address the elephant in the room
The biggest mistake you can make with your marketing material is to pretend that nothing has changed; ignoring the fact that holidays abroad have indeed got more expensive for Brits. By addressing this in your content and on social media, you will come across as a trustworthy business that tells it as it is.
However, it's not enough just to acknowledge that Brexit has made foreign holidays more expensive, you've got to offer some sort of solution. One solution (of sorts) is to spell out to holidaymakers just how much the price has risen since the Brexit vote – it might not be as much as they think; a holiday might still be affordable.
While this might be seen as a risky strategy, your customers will appreciate the honesty; they're going to research it for themselves anyway. Even if they deem a holiday abroad as too expensive this year, next year things could be very different, and it's your agency they will come to first.
Create helpful, post-Brexit content
As well as weighing up the cost of the holiday package itself, holidaymakers will be mindful of how much more they're going to have to exchange in spending money, as a result of the weakened pound.
So, create content that advises them on where to go to get the best exchange rate, as well as other content that they would find useful in a post-Brexit world (info on the European Health Insurance Card etc.).
Again, while this wouldn't necessarily change their mind about buying a holiday abroad this year, it positions you well for next year. Then again, if they discover that there are still good travel money options available, it just might tempt them to book up that well-deserved holiday.
Unless you operate primarily in the UK tourism industry – which is said to be in "rude health" following Brexit – you're going to have to give a bit of extra thought about how to convince travellers to book holidays abroad.
However, as our tips suggest, it might not prove to be as hard as some reports make out to tempt holidaymakers abroad for that once-a-year, dependable sunny weather...
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