More than 39,500 people visited this year’s Holiday World Show at the RDS Simmonscourt – up 25pc in the last three years. Travel Extra spoke to a selection of last week’s exhibitors who revealed destination and booking trends among consumers:
Cassidy Travel/ITAA President, John Spollen: “Cassidy Travel has held a proactive presence at the show for the past 29 years. Organised as an ITAA initiative, the show offers a huge opportunity to the travel trade each year, bringing hundreds of professionals together under one roof.
“The show is a great space for us as travel agents to do what we do best – speak with customers one-on-one to create their perfect holiday. Agents are experts in their products and provide an insight that cannot be replicated through DIY bookings, helping individual needs and wants to be realised in customer bookings.
“It is always encouraging to see the growing crowds year on year and it was clear to all seasoned exhibitors that 2019 welcomed the largest crowd in years with the opening day thought to be the busiest Friday in many years. We’re already looking forward to a bigger and brighter Holiday World Show in 2020!
“From a Cassidy Travel perspective we are delighted with our presence at this year’s show, with our stand being extremely busy all weekend. We had a huge range of enquiries, the main ones definitely being cruises/city breaks/USA and Canada, and a lot of interest in Greek Islands and Italy. We estimate that we dealt with a record number of potential clients from Friday-Sunday. Post-Holiday World Show, our staff is extremely busy this week processing and following up the many enquiries taken from potential customers.”
TUI, Charlotte Brenner: “It was a fantastic weekend with an air of positivity right around the exhibition hall. We were delighted to partake in three of Eoghan Corry’s panel discussions on travel trends, ski and Europe, and the feedback on the discussions has been excellent.
“We had strong interest over the weekend in Mexico direct from Dublin on our TUI Airways Dreamliner; this seemed to be a mix of weddings, honeymoons and actually families as well looking for somewhere further afield and liking the direct non-stop routing.
“Lakes and mountains was also very popular and helped by the knowledge imparted by the various tourist boards in attendance. Our Marella Cruises gained a lot of interest from the family market for its summer itineraries around the Mediterranean, this is in addition to the interest from couples enquiring about our winter and summer itineraries.”
Wendy Wu, John Booty: “Wendy Wu Tours had its best ever Holiday World show in Dublin with our stand being busy from the moment the show opened on Friday until 5pm on the Sunday.
“Destinations that topped everybody’s bucket list for 2019 & 20 are China, Japan, Vietnam & South America – particularly to Chile and Brazil. People love the fact that we make it a hassle-free experience – guaranteed departures, including as much as possible with international flights from Ireland, all excursions, meals and more importantly their tourist visa.
“Booking before the end of February through their travel agent they also save €200pp on the brochure price. A huge thank you to Maureen and all the team for such a successful show and see you again in 2019 (and in Limerick on the 16th of February).”
Travel Department, Sara Zimmerman: “Bookings were up and we noticed huge interest in trips to our long-haul destinations and particularly China and Vietnam. We had many newcomers to Travel Department with a huge interest in Italy and specifically the landmark lakes holidays of Como and Garda.
“Small group adventure holidays with sister company TD Active Holidays are proving popular, and far-flung destinations are increasingly in vogue, particularly to our newer, more unique destinations such as Albania and Patagonia.”
Uniworld, Sharon Jordan: “This year’s Holiday World Show was incredibly successful and it was very interesting to see the new travel trends for 2019 as well as the holiday styles that have continued to gain popularity and momentum over the past few years.
“We saw an incredible surge in the public interest for river cruising and solo travelling. River cruising has continued to remain at the top of travellers’ ‘must-try’ lists. As the industry’s leading river cruise company, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises found that this year travellers are particularly interested in cruises along the Danube and Rhine rivers.
“New to the scene, and the first of its kind in the realm of river cruising, is Uniworld’s younger sister-brand U by Uniworld. U by Uniworld offers a new take on river cruising for new generation of travellers, which garnered incredible interest at this year’s show; further demonstrating the prevailing trend and demand across all ages for river cruise holidays.
“A focused interest for travellers this year is immersive experiences, connecting with locals, flexibility to explore destinations and the ability to travel solo without the solo supplement fee. It can certainly be said that holidaymakers such as Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and Insight Vacations’ escorted trips have adapted to this travel trend by offering exceptional savings for solo travellers on their most popular itineraries.”
Royal Caribbean, Jennifer Callister: “We were delighted to attend what was one of the busiest and best Holiday World Shows for Royal Caribbean to date. There was a great buzz around the show and this year we met with an increased number of new-to-cruise holidaymakers keen to find out more about Royal Caribbean and our incredible ships, as well as our incredible 2019 and 2020 itineraries.
“Guests to our stand were especially interested to hear about our East Mediterranean sailings from Venice, our sailings from Barcelona, and the Caribbean itineraries sailing to our exclusive private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, that opens in May 2019.
“We’re really excited to show our guests just how spectacular Perfect Day at CocoCay will be, and what better way to do this than take them there! Guests fully immersed themselves in the thrill and chill of Perfect Day at CocoCay as they stepped into our virtual helium balloon which soars 450 feet above the island.
“The 360 VR goggles were a truly innovative and interactive activation, showcasing the island’s spectacular facilities and the unrivalled range of activities that raise the bar when it comes to thrilling and chilling on holiday. We are looking forward to welcoming many of the guests we met at the show onboard our spectacular ships.”
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