Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

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”.

shares

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 .

shares

0 comments

Alex Till of Menta.

Enterprise agency Menta has launched a new Digital Enterprise Engagement Programme (DEEP), offering newly formed local businesses and those who are self-employed access to free digital training courses.

Solar farm. Library image.

A proposed solar park in Wix has been tipped for approval by council planning officers.

The headquarters of Realise Futures in Ipswich.

Ipswich-based social enterprise Realise Futures has won a contract to provide supported employment services for adults with disabilities across a wide area of Essex.

Stage 5 of the Womens Tour passes through Onehouse on their way to Bury St Edmunds last year

Schoolchildren will also be involved in an evening of activities in Bury St Edmunds ahead of the start of a major women’s cycling event.

Cloud telecoms company X-on has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Cloud telecoms company X-on, based at the Framlingham Technology Centre, has launched Cuube, a new online communications services platform.

Paul Rous, of Bruisyard Hall, has launched a tech startup venture with Mark Pearson

A Suffolk entrepreneur has teamed up with a top technology investor, who made millions from a website he created with just £300, to help finance new ideas.

Jeremy Goulding, front, left, chief executive of Wheatley, is congratulated by Innovatioin Martlesham chair Ian Buxton on winning the first Innovationi Martlesham competition. Also pictured, from left, are Paul O'Brien of BT, Jane Bromley of Wheatley, Mike Ward of Wheatley and Mohamed Abdel-Maguid from University Campus Suffolk.

Software company Wheatley has been named winner of a new competition staged by Innovation Martlesham, the cluster of hi-tech companies based at BT’s Adastral Park research site, near Ipswich.

Total unemployment in the UK has reached a near seven year low, official figures showed today.
Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Unemployment in the UK has continued to fall and a record 31million people are in now work, according to the final labour market figures before the General Election.

The Nestle Purina plant in Sudbury.

KitKat, Nescafe and Shredded Wheat maker Nestlé said today that first quarter sales had been boosted by an earlier Easter, but with growth dented by currency changes after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision to lift a cap on the franc.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages