Speaking at the Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas on Monday (14 August), Virtuoso members reported that clients were adapting their plans following the scorching heat in much of southern Europe this summer.
Rebecca Masri, founder of London-based Little Emperors, said: “We’ve definitely acknowledged change [in bookings] due to the changing climate that we’re experiencing in the world […] We started to see a really large increase in demand for destinations like Norway and Copenhagen, which wouldn’t normally be destinations we would book for summer. I think with Europe being so hot, people are looking for cooler destinations. It’s given a really big opportunity to the Nordics to come forward as a summer destination.”
Little Emperors is a private members travel club and app, which launched its MyLER independent consultant programme earlier this year, and its average client is 45-years-old. Masri said Little Emperors “struggled immensely” this summer with destinations such as Sardinia and the Greek islands due to the heat. “Our clients, being younger, generally their kids are much younger. People don’t want to travel with a young baby to a destination that’s 48 degrees. It’s just not pleasant. And within cancellation policies, they can’t come out of those bookings.”
Jamsheed Pocha, founder of The Pelican Club, a Canadian membership-based travel company, said he’d also been sending Canadian and American clients to Switzerland, Austria and Germany this summer. He explained: “They traditionally haven’t been as popular as Italy, France and Greece in the summer months, and with the climate being so much hotter in those destinations, and the amazing spa products and beautiful wilderness destinations out there, it’s a great grab for people.”
Pocha has also seen some summer demand for European destinations move to the shoulder months of September and October. Paul Tumpowsky, founder and chief executive of New York-based travel agency Skylark, noted that many hotels in southern Italy currently had low availability for September and October. He added: “I think there’s a lot of potential for people moving that summer [holiday] towards even halfway through October, and several hotels that [normally] close in early October are now closing in mid or late autumn”
Masri noted a similar trend, saying many seasonal hotels were now opening for longer, and said the Alps have become popular for the summer. She added: “Traditionally we’d book it for ski at Christmas, but there’s no snow at Christmas. So actually we’re booking more and more summer in Courchevel and Gstaad.”
Source : TTG