With UK travel back on the cards, many Britons are gearing up to spend their summer exploring the beauty on offer here at home. Though the travel industry may have suffered in early lockdown, as hotels closed their doors and the nation stayed at home, booking figures for the coming months are booming.
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It’s good news for the sector, which represents 284 million jobs around the world and contributes more than $7.2 trillion to the global GDP.
However, the sudden surge in demand could also see a similar surge in cost, as hotel rooms fill up and busy weekends become fully booked.
Luckily, there are some ways Britons can bag the best bargains even amid the peak season.
John Green, the founder of hotel representation company JG Collection, spoke with Express.co.uk to share his insights.
“There are lots of amazing agents and operators all educated and invested in ensuring you, your families and loved ones receive a phenomenal, memorable experience,” he explained.
“These companies, many of whom JG Collection is dedicated to supporting, are there for your call, often for free.
“If you want a great hotel deal, call someone who will assist or if you are searching for a deal online then check a comparison site as many smaller, independent hotels rely on these for marketing.”
Having spent time working with, and frequenting, hotels across the world including The ICMI Luxury Collection in Scotland & The Caribbean, Hotel Camiral in Girona, MOB Hotels in Paris and Lyon, and Hillside Beach Club in Turkey, Mr Green has also learned a lot about how to make the most of your stay.
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“Yes, the hotel is important, but a knowledge of the smaller details elevates the stay – for example, if you need a handicap to play a local golf course or what theatre shows are likely to sell out quickly,” he said.
“At Inverlochy Castle in Scotland, guests can hire a local guide to help navigate but also learn about the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.
“These are details that will take a stay from great to unforgettable.”
The best way to do this, of course, is to speak to someone who knows the area well.
“My top tip is to consult a regional travel expert,” he continued.
“I also always book a walking tour everywhere I go.
“Travel educates and inspires, and now more than ever that’s important.
“I want to learn about the history, the people, the art and food, as well as the quirkier details like where in Glencoe Daniel Craig filmed the James Bond Aston Martin scene!”
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Hotels themselves often offer their own unique experiences too, and even though new guidelines after the pandemic may change the offering somewhat, Mr Green says hotels have worked hard to keep the guest experience as high quality as possible.
“Safety will take priority, but the people-centric nature of hospitality is also important – it’s about finding a way for the two to work symbiotically,” he explained.
“What the hotels we are working alongside are focusing on is helping guests to remember the small touches of luxury that have been missing from their lives from the past few months.
“They will still receive a seamless luxury experience thanks to the behind the scenes details that hotels have been busy refining over lockdown.”
Though the months of closures were felt in huge losses to the industry, Mr Green also believes they offered an opportunity for hotels to look inwards at how to enhance the experience.
“I think the reset has provided many with the time to reflect and for me, this is a positive thing,” he said.
“The question is, given the resilience of hospitality, what will we do as a body moving forward.
“The tourism industry is one that educates, lifts, enhances wellbeing, provides experiences and emotion – which is what ultimately will drive bookings.
“Technology will play a more prominent role within an industry that can often be slow to innovate, but not at the expense of human connections, even at distance.
“What we as hospitality providers need to do at every opportunity is to give the client choice. “This could be in the form of room turndown services, cleaning options, different ways to order dinner.
“There is a technical solution to most of these elements, however, the use of technology must be carefully balanced with a human element to provide true hospitality.”
Good deals and memorable stays are a huge part of what brings guests back time and time again, and this is something that is set to remain prominent as the industry returns to business.
“While revenues across the industry have been effectively wiped out, we are focusing on reinvesting and rebuilding a recognisable hospitality experience which puts safety at the forefront,” said Mr Green.
He added: “It’s been encouraging to see the hospitality industry receiving the recognition that it is long overdue.”
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