Sceptre Tours president Chris Accomando has released a statement highlighting the growth potential of family and luxury travel in the coming year.
"We have seen nearly a 30 percent increase in family travel in the past year and the majority of these passengers are seeking high-end, deluxe accommodations," Accomando says.
This includes everything from villa-style accommodations with multiple bedrooms to comfortably house multiple generations to suites at five-star hotels and castle-style properties.
"If agents have clients who are thinking about a luxury trip next year, we are advising to book sooner rather than later as the previous mindset of waiting it out to see if the five-star hotels will go on sale to get rid of available inventory is just not a reality any longer," Accomando said.
Sceptre Tours is recommending that travel agents book at least 100 to 120 days in advance to secure the first choice for their clients.
Another factor impacting demand levels is the growth of intra-European travel, Accomando says. He notes Sceptre Tours is hearing from its suppliers that travel within Europe has taken an uptick with a high percentage of Europeans traveling within the EU. As a result, Americans are competing with Europeans for those same hotel rooms and tours.
For those who are in search of a bargain, Accomando notes that Ireland, Spain and Portugal are the destinations offering value for 2015.
"We are seeing travel to these three countries increase substantially for those who seek the best value for their travel dollar and, as such, availability is getting limited for peak times," Accomando said.
Accomando adds the value for the travel dollar is still very high here, but again, demand is also high so availability will become limited as it gets closer to desired travel dates.
Accomando also cites Tourism Ireland's latest statistics showing that arrivals are up 14 percent in 2014 and that the city of Killarney, in particular, is having its best year ever.
Accomando cautions that last-minute flash sales and the abundance of rooms available, as has been seen in past years, are going to be decreasing.
"With the demand already starting to increase, the hotels are going to be less likely to mark down pricing or offer flash sales because they aren't sitting with a lot of inventory they need to clear out," Accomando said. "Our offices in Italy and Ireland are already seeing some hotels come back to them informing that space is limited during March and April of next year."
He notes a number of prominent events in 2015 tend to put pressure on inventory including:
- Military Tattoo in Edinburgh, August – already limited inventory
- Open Championship at St Andrews – closed June 20th and will reopen July 21st
- All Ireland Finals (hurling and Gaelic football) – First and third Sundays of September
- NY Jets vs. Miami Dolphins – October 4th 2015 in Wembley Stadium, London
"We have seen that the consumer mindset, of late, has been to take advantage of last-minute travel deals and to experience instant gratification for an immediate vacation experience, versus one that is still a few months out," said Accomando.
To help incentivize early bookings, Sceptre Tours reports it is offering a $200 per person air credit incentive.