What are you to think when there is so much conflicting opinion? I’m talking here about the future market for UK holidays.
For the last couple of years it’s been hard to read a newspaper, listen to or watch the news without one aspect or other of the credit crunch/banking crisis dominating the headlines. To twist Harold Macmillan’s famous line of 1957, “we’ve never had it so bad”.
So, on the one hand it’s all doom and gloom with unemployment rising, savings being depleted, inflation on the up, fuel prices at an all time high – but on the other, there seems to be plenty of people out spending. What’s going on?
Taking the UK holiday market, which is largely dominated by self catering cottages, lodges, caravans and camping, my guess, based on what we’re told is going on in the economy, would be that year on year there would have been and will continue to be, a steady reduction in people going on holiday. Because of UK land and property prices, holidaying in the UK is expensive! I’d guess too that more expensive places would be suffering and that the cheaper places would be doing better. After all, better to have a cheaper holiday than no holiday at all?
But, according to people in the business, that isn’t what’s happening at all.
What’s being reported is that whist 2011 bookings were a little down on previous years, 2012 forward bookings are looking good. Even more surprising (to me) is that it’s the bottom and middle market self catering holidays that are suffering and that at the top end, luxurious holiday homes are doing very well thank you.
I wish I knew what was going on, but then, if I did, I’d have made my fortune by now and might well be blogging about that.
My guess is that what we might be seeing is one effect of the wealth divide that is growing in the UK – the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. So, it’s not a question of a cheap holiday being better than no holiday – if you’re struggling then you’ve no choice: it’s no holiday. At the other end of the scale, if the money is rolling in, then why not spend a little extra on staying somewhere really nice.
But I bet that’s not the answer either. What do you think?