Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

East Anglia: Bumper bookings bode well for holiday season

06:00 14 January 2014

Naomi Tarry of Best of Suffolk.

Naomi Tarry of Best of Suffolk.

Archant

Holiday cottage letting firms across East Anglia are reporting bumper early year bookings, reflecting a VisitEngland survey suggesting a continued rise in “staycations”.

Naomi Tarry, a director of Best of Suffolk, based near Halesworth, said the firm had just celebrated a “record day of bookings” and was preparing to recruit new staff for a busy summer ahead.

Meanwhile, Norfolk Hideaways, which focuses on north Norfolk lettings, reported bookings for January 19% up on last year, while Norfolk Country Cottages said their figures were showing a 7% year-on-year improvement.

All the firms revealed they had enjoyed a buoyant summer last year and felt customers’ memories of the glorious weather was a factor in the staycations booking surge.

The state of confidence right across the region’s £4.2billion tourism sector will emerge when the results of the Larking Gowen Tourism Business Survey are published at the end of March. The firm’s tourism and leisure partner Chris Scargill said: “It is clear from our three-monthly business confidence monitor in the autumn that not every business benefited from the weather last summer.

“Businesses have until the end of January to fill in our annual tourism survey and we would invite them to tell us their individual story.”

The evidence from holiday cottage firms tallies with the VisitEngland survey which reports that 17% of families are more likely to take a holiday in the UK this year because of last summer’s weather.

The figures also showed that, nationally, staycations rose 9% last July compared with the same month in 2012.

Mrs Tarry stressed that it was not just last summer’s weather that was giving Best of Suffolk a lift.

“We have developed a reputation for excellent customer service and if you become known for looking after customers they tend to come back. We have therefore seen significant growth in repeat bookings,” she said.

Penny Richardson, office manager at Norfolk Hideaways, said: “People think if they had a great time last year they will book again.” She said they had been “mega busy” last summer with last-minute bookings promted by the good weather.

Heather McCraith, general manager of Norfolk Country Cottages, said its focused marketing, targeting customers with direct emails, was as important as last year’s weather in the bookings surge.

Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk, said there was a general trend of holiday cottage firms doing well.

“We have seen evidence of the growth in Suffolk as a holiday destination and, as our cottages and apartments stretch from Southwold down to Constable Country and inland all the way down from the Waveney Valley to Lavenham, we really are in a good position to offer something for everyone.

“Our biggest increase has been in the short break market, especially out of season, and we feel this is partly due to customers’ busy lives but also because Suffolk has so many tourist attractions that are open all year round.”

The Larking Gowen survey is seen as a vital tool to influence government decision-makers. Light shed on such key indicators as the level of investment taking place, the influence of social media and confidence in the future also provides information for operators to benchmark their business against others.

Businesses have until January 31 to fill in the survey at www.tourismsurveys.co.uk .

0 comments

John Dugmore

Campaigners from the business community on both sides of the EU membership debate were agreed yesterday on the need for the Government to make stability its top priority in the wake of the vote for Brexit.

Keith Senior is pictured at Jacobs Allen in Bury St Edmunds

Concerns have been raised about how Thursday’s decision to quit the EU will affect mortgage rates and foreign travel.

Barry Chevalier Guild of Aspall Cyder

One of Suffolk’s oldest and most successful family businesses has been given permission to expand its operations – despite community concerns it has already outgrown the hamlet from which it takes its name.

SIMS - Max Shelley and Sam Parnell

Ask the experts and become better at social media!

Building work at Beardmore Park, Martlesham Heath.

Major plans for a new £8million retail estate in Martlesham Heath, including DIY store Wickes, and scores of new jobs have been confirmed.

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24