Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 18°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”.

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 .

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24

0 comments

Neil Farrow, organiser of the Ipswich Gin Festival

Ipswich is set to get its own gin festival next year, with dozens of food and drink companies set to get on board.

Ethan Miller is the winner of a furniture  design competition, where his design has been made into a prototype by West Suffolk College.
Ethan Miller reiving his prize from Paul Glasswell.

Students design wins Glasswells furniture design competition

The owner of Frankie & Benny's is to review its offer in a bid to win back trade lost following price rises.

The struggling owner of restaurant chains Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s is to close 33 under-performing sites after posting a loss for the first of the year.

And indicative perspective of what a new retirement homes on the 30 Lower Brook Street site, might look like.
Development plans are going out for consultation.
The site is currently Archant's newspaper offices.

A public exhibition will give local residents Ipswich residents the opportunity to view and comment on McCarthy and Stone’s preliminary proposals to redevelop land between Lower Brook Street and Turret Lane.

Part of the new facilities at Red Lodge Karting.

A west Suffolk outdoor karting company has created five new jobs with the opening of a new corporate hospitality venue.

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24