Results for July have seen FBM Holidays last-minute summer bookings increase by over 23% year-on-year. The local, award-winning holiday cottage agency, who has this year picked up more properties in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, to add to their impressive Pembrokeshire portfolio have seen a monumental increase in bookings over the immediate summer period.
However, the growth in booking levels has been put down to much more than just an increased number of bookable properties.
Company Marketing Executive, Thom James, explains,
“We’ve seen a fantastic increase in bookings this year, in almost every month, but July was exceptional. Since December, we’ve noted that bookings were coming in later and later than usual, but always in greater number than previous years. We put this down to a combination of ongoing interest in Wales as a destination as well as market anxiety; Brexit and the fluctuating exchange rate causing people to hold off a little bit longer than usual.”
“But the real key has been the engagement in short breaks, traditionally not taken in the Summer months.”
“We’ve worked quite closely with out owners this year, especially new owners to offer the flexibility of short breaks all year round, instead of rigid ‘week-only’ bookings, and so far it’s really worked for them.”
The increase in short break market can be put down to an increase in platforms like Airbnb and Booking Holdings influence, adopting more of a European approach to their ‘length of stay’. And because of the success of these platforms, online bookers, even when it comes to using other, more local services, now expect to see the same kind of flexibility.
James continues, “You have to put yourself where the customer wants to be, and offering flexibility is as much the key to success as it is price. A lot of the customers that we see booking last minute are time-poor, not cash-poor. They want to experience West Wales and they come to us for the properties, so we have to make sure we have the breaks they want available.”