If you’re looking for the ultimate travel-less, see-more UK destination, look no further than the Cotswolds. An area with Stratford upon Avon to the north, Bath to the southwest, and accessed through Oxford with a one-hour drive from London Heathrow; it’s the perfect place to park your jetlag for a few days, putting you in great shape for early starts and late finishes when you get to London.
With swathes of yellow daffodils and the forsythia bursting into flower, the long-awaited spring is finally here and with it, there’s an encouraging upward trend in travel advisor inquiries for later in the year and for 2022, in anticipation that planes will once again be crisscrossing the Atlantic.
To encourage you to take part in this Britain-bound renaissance, I’ve put together some updates on festivals taking place in September. They include the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath, with some tips on costume hire; and the International Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay, where a link to last year’s Virtual event is a very useful marketing tool.
Finally, if your clients are into china and porcelain, they’ll thank you for helping them to attend the British Ceramics Biennial in the World Capital of Ceramics, aka Stoke on Trent.
With the effectiveness of our vaccination programme bringing a release from lockdown ever nearer, it’s not unreasonable to think of September as a very good month for UK-bound travel. By then, your garden-loving customers won’t have been to our shores for around 18 months, and my top story reveals that no fewer than 6 world-class flower shows and festivals can help you to profitably turn that to your advantage!
This week’s focus sharpens on the cathedral city of Winchester, just 30 minutes north of Southampton and 1 hour from London Heathrow. It ticks all the boxes for a 2 to 3-night pre- or post-cruise extension. I’ve also highlighted how Royal Windsor’s proximity to London Heathrow works well for the first 2 nights of any UK tour or Dover, Harwich or Southampton departing cruise.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tourism South East recently staged an excellent virtual version of their hugely popular Excursions trade show. Being a great believer in hub and spoke tours, two destinations have caught my eye; one in the English countryside and the other at the seaside. The first is the Kent town of Maidstone, which is home to a collection of internationally renowned hotel brands that provide the highest quality accommodation. The second is the seaside city of Brighton, where the 5-star Grand Hotel and many seafront 4-star properties tick all the right boxes for the high-end traveller. Let’s take a closer look at why they make a very good base for a pre-London, or pre-cruise, 3-4 night stay.
To celebrate my 100th article for Travel Research Online, and in the hope that planes start crisscrossing the Atlantic in the summer, here are seven magnificent tour ideas that will resonate strongly with anglophile clients who’ve been deprived of a UK tour – for far too long. Use the videos and websites to whip up interest and then, between us, let’s encourage them to play their part in the renaissance of GB-bound travel. Read the rest of this entry »
Your guess is as good as mine as to when scheduled transatlantic flights will lift off once again but, in the hope that normal service resumes in the spring/early summer, here are six bright ideas that will resonate well with dozens of your anglophile customers. They are, in addition to Goodwood’s Festival of Speed, Alice’s Day in Oxford and the Open Golf Championships at Royal St George’s in Kent.
I don’t know about you but after the Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations, January and even February are often dull and drab months that have to be endured. Let me lift your spirits with a collection of festivals and events that can be used as the cornerstone for a UK tour that can be customised to meet your customer’s interests, time frame and budget. To enable them to travel less and therefore see more, they are based in the Cotswolds and in the colourful seaside city of Brighton. Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re a frequent reader of my Agent’s Perspectives, you’ll know that I’m a great believer in creating itineraries that enable your clients to travel less and see more. This week, I’m introducing a five-night, on-location masterpiece centred on Bath and Oxford with three nights in London at the end. It includes places used in the filming of the new Netflix period drama Bridgerton, The Secret Garden, Wolf Hall, Poldark, Harry Potter, and Downton Abbey. This rich blend is further enhanced with visits to treasure-filled Blenheim Palace and an unforgettable English afternoon tea. Read on and then ask me for the itinerary which includes other must-see On Location visits. Read the rest of this entry »
With news of the long hoped for COVID-19 vaccine lifting our spirits, here are some more profit-generating ideas for those of you with April/May travel to the UK on your radar. They come to you with my warmest good wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving.
Last Tuesday’s headlines like ‘One small jab for man…’ (Daily Mail) and ‘A shot in the arm to beat Covid’ (Metro) lifted our spirits on this side of the pond. No doubt, you saw something similar in your own media. After nearly 8 months of profound hope-deprivation (we’re in total lockdown here in the UK until 2nd December) the light at the end of the tunnel could be leading us all towards a brighter future.
With the prospects improving for the restoration of transatlantic flights and cruise ships weighing anchor, here are a few ideas that will help you to harness some of the pent-up demand for UK-bound travel in April and May.
Regular readers will be familiar with my 4-word mantra of ‘Travel less, See more’ which you’ll find resonates extremely well with clients who have been to Britain before. Being anglophiles, they will represent some of the pent-up demand you should be targeting for when planes start crisscrossing the pond.
While it is just 281 miles from London Heathrow to Penzance, it’s still a fair distance to travel especially if you’ve spent 8-11 hours flying through 8 time zones to get here, with jetlag still waiting in the wings. In a normal year, there are flights from LHR to Newquay (70 minutes). Hopefully services will be restored sooner rather than later.
Another option is taking the Heathrow Express to Paddington for a night in London before returning back to the station for an early departure, a 4.5-hour direct train ride to the cathedral city of Truro. The coastal town of Penzance is just 30 minutes further down the line. Letting the train, and the well-stocked buffet car, take the strain makes a great deal of sense for travel in both directions. Here come the conversation-starting tour suggestions.
Cunard’s recent announcement of their new series of Mediterranean cruises set me thinking about some of the short programmes I can offer as pre- and post-cruise extensions from their main UK port of Southampton. The collection I’ve created includes Downton Abbey, the Cotswolds, Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Morse, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, and the Beatles.
Given your knowledge of your client’s interests, generate some extra commission by offering them something that’s closer to their heart than a straight Southampton/London transfer!
Covid-19 has stalled UK-bound travel, but it hasn’t destroyed our historic sites, great cathedrals, abbeys, castles, and stately homes – or prevented Mother Nature from the annual refurbishment of our great gardens, both large and small.
Keep making plans for spring 2021 and beyond.
Fans of Masterpiece will be thrilled by the news in this week’s top story, with many of them equally intrigued by the prospect of virtually attending the world’s longest-running literature festival WHICH KICKS OFF TODAY in the Cotswolds spa town of Cheltenham.
Pitch these ideas to your anglophile customers who will love them, and let’s explore how we can turn fiction into profitable reality.
In a normal year, with the summer holidays over and kids returning to school, college and university, some of the UK’s annual September festivals offer you the possibilities for some late summer, GB-bound business in 2021. The Virtual International Agatha Christie Festival was introduced this week and; with the huge interest in Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and other great detective novels, movies and TV series; you could use this to generate interest in a tour customised to meet your client’s favourite characters.
There’s a great Whisky Festival in Scotland, an international Three Day Event at Burghley and the world’s greatest Jane Austen Festival in Bath; and, for garden lovers, the RHS Wisley Flower Show takes place at the same time as the Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers. Read the rest of this entry »
Two weeks ago, my Agent’s Perspectives article took a look at Castles and Cathedrals in the Cotswolds. This week, the focus sharpens on some of the Castles, cathedrals, and some 11th century churches which are like a slow but riveting walk through centuries of English history.
Some of them double up as short pre-or-post cruise extensions sailing in/out of Dover, while others come together as components for a travel-less, see-more tour that will appeal to your garden-loving clients. Other ingredients can be blended together for an English cathedrals-based tour perhaps with Sunday morning worship in Canterbury Cathedral?
Frequent readers of my Agent’s Perspectives will know of my enthusiasm for creating customised UK tours that “travel less,” so that clients can see a great deal more. With Stratford upon Avon to the north, the Roman/Georgian city of Bath to the south, and access from LHR and London through Oxford to the east; the Cotswolds is home to a number of remarkable castles and cathedrals. This week, I’m taking you on a journey that spans well over 1000 years of turbulent and nation-forming history. When you add Blenheim Palace, the Rothschild’s priceless art collections at Waddesdon Manor, some private gardens, pubs, and tea rooms, there’s a lot to get excited about – and that’s where my knowledge, experience and connections come into play for a customised tour. Enjoy the trip! Read the rest of this entry »
Capture some of the pent-up demand for UK travel with these imaginative early season tour ideas for 2021. Kew Gardens Orchid extravaganza is truly stunning, and Cornwall’s gardens are resplendent in March thanks to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream (and a dash of Doc Martin). Tulips drive an April tour and malt whisky and ancient castle influence a visit to southwest Scotland in May. Read the rest of this entry »
Let me add a bit more colour and excitement to your Friday with an invitation to spend some time at this week’s Virtual RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park near Chester.
Then, take your imagination for a stroll through some exhilarating YouTube experiences with jousting at 11th century Arundel Castle, Tudor England at the Shakespeare Houses in Stratford upon Avon, and the re-enacted 11th century Battle of Hastings. My final stories outline a “travel less, see more” tour of ancient England with the great waterfront city of Portsmouth as the hub. Read the rest of this entry »
For clients with an interest in gardening, classical music, opera and the visual arts, early July is a great month for a UK tour. The star attraction for many will be the spectacular, colourful RHS Hampton Court Festival of summer and flowers in the grounds of the historic palace on the banks of the River Thames
With London getting busier at the beginning of summer, it’s time for your clients to get out of the city and into the Cotswolds where a remarkable collection of annual festivals and events can be blended together to create profit generating pre or post extensions to their 3-4 nights in our capital city. Read the rest of this entry »
Last Tuesday, our UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that from 4th July, the self-distancing figure shrinks from 6 feet to 3 feet which will enable hotels, pubs, restaurants, and many attractions to reopen. This is the biggest leap to near normality since the lockdown started on 23rd March.
Responding to this encouraging news, I’ve focused on the month of June and have chosen four annual events which you can use as the foundation for a 2021 customised UK tour for 2-3 clients, or even a small group of 10-12.
The first one features the Dickens Festival in the cathedral of Rochester with the second centred on the Jane Austen Regency Week in the Hampshire villages of Chawton and Alton, where she spent much of her life. June is also a good month for an On-Location Doc Martin/Poldark tour to Devon and Cornwall. Read the rest of this entry »
I don’t know if you saw the Development Counsellors International report issued in late March, about what travel advisors need from destinations during COVID-19, but my eye was caught by the fact that while you were dealing with cancellations and reassuring clients about future bookings, 38 percent reported using this time to engage in professional education.
If that includes you, take a look at my April and May articles. You’ll discover that I’m providing you with information on internationally renowned ANNUAL events and festivals that can provide the cornerstone for a UK tour Read the rest of this entry »