Just as Her Majesty The Queen famously referred to 1992 as her Annus Horribilis, June 2016 could well go down as our mense horribilis with various local and world events affecting mood, operations and bookings.
Europe’s river experienced some of the highest water levels in decades – first the Danube, followed by the Seine and, not to be left out, the Rhine. While river cruise programmes have continued to operate throughout, it has provided us with logistical headaches, made all the more challenging by the fact that the situation can change literally by the minute, so it can be very unpredictable to manage.
Since then, the European Football Championships have proved a distraction hindering late bookings (well, I’m not sure how true this is given how connected we are these days, but we still like to roll it out as an excuse!). Then there was the terrible atrocity in the nightclub in Orlando. Meanwhile a definite distraction was the EU referendum and the fallout from the result on the 24 June will be a distraction for months to come.
Understandably everyone’s first reaction was by asking how it was going to affect them and with the summer holiday period looming, travel has been a hot topic. Questions have been asked surrounding the validity of passports, currency fluctuations, whether sterling will be a valid currency abroad, reciprocal health care in Europe – the list goes on. Agents and operators who remain calm and reassuring, and who tackle these issues with clear and practical statements on their websites will draw attention to themselves and come out stronger.
As in any situation, there are always opportunities. This is definitely the case for the cruise industry and in particular for river cruise.
At Uniworld, we have an all-inclusive product; meals, drinks, excursions, gratuities are all included so our customers don’t have to worry about exchange rates and how far their currency will go when they are travelling with us.
Once they have booked, they don’t have to ‘put their hand in their pocket’ again.
We will be heavily promoting our all-inclusive offering over the coming weeks. There are a number of customers still looking to book their 2016 holiday and this is an extremely strong message.
As the saying goes: every cloud has a silver lining.
Picture credit: threefishsleeping/Flickr