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Andy Stark from Global is optimistic about 2020

Andy Stark, managing director, Global Travel Group, is excited about what 2020 might hold for the travel industry, especially with new destinations and great products to sell.

The turn of year is always a busy time and while many people look forward to a break with families and loved ones, for those of us in the travel industry it is a time to not only reflect on the last year but gear up for what we hope will be our own Christmas in terms of sales.

No doubt the last year has been a tumultuous one with the loss of Thomas Cook – and as I write we are about to embark on a general election and potentially a new government – and inevitably even more debate around Brexit.

Uncertain times? Yes, for sure, but I’ve never been one to gaze for too long in the rearview mirror.

I have my own ambitions and resolutions for the industry and for agents as the new year approaches.

We’re fortunate to work in an industry where there are new opportunities opening up all the time and I would encourage agents to put exploring new destinations at the top of their to-do list for 2020. This could be done as part of a fam trip for your own learning and development, as a way of adding to your product portfolio for customers.

Airlines continue to add new routes and destinations including Sharm el Sheikh and Egypt, which are continuing to open up. No doubt the Eastern Mediterranean will become even more competitive and a region to watch over the next 12 months and beyond.

Keeping a competitive approach in mind, I would strongly urge agents to have a steadfast approach to pricing. Yes, we live in uncertain times, and the cloud of Brexit continues to be a challenge but, that said, we are in the extremely fortunate position of having incredible products and services to sell.

Holding the price point of these great products and maintaining a confident position is essential to protecting the value of these without falling prey to the temptation of discounting and underselling.

It can be nigh-on impossible to recover ground once you go down the path of discounting and underselling.

Instead, find your own niche and passion points – from that, you will be able to sell holidays that will not only hold more appeal for your customers, but have the potential to build that all important customer loyalty. This, in turn, can pay dividends in terms of futureproofing your business.

As new routes and destinations open up and the potential for niche marketing grows, so too does the demand for experience-based holidays that really allow customers to immerse themselves in a destination and culture. This trend has seen steady growth in recent times and looks set to continue into 2020 and beyond.

So there is plenty of opportunity within the changing and exciting times that lie ahead. And with that in mind, I’d like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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