Sales in the last week of January soared past 2019 levels, Personal Travel Agents has said, with the homeworking network reporting its highest single day’s trading in a decade.
Bookings were 16% ahead of 2019, figures revealed, with the volume providing huge encouragement and relief to agents, Head of Personal Travel Agents Sheena Whittle said.
On January 25, agents raked in £471,000, the best in a single day for 10 years.
But Ms Whittle warned that new issues have emerged, with agents often struggling to get through to overstretched and understaffed operator call centres.
“After the relaxation of testing rules was announced in early January, it was like someone switched a tap on,” she said. “The PTAs instantly saw a surge of bookings, and sales continued to grow throughout the month
“This is hugely encouraging and a welcome relief after the past two years of ups and downs.”
Summer 2022 was the strongest period for sales, accounting for 47% of bookings in January, the network said.
But demand remained strong for ‘super late’ getaways with the current winter season taking 31% of bookings.
“Whilst we know there could still be more bumps in the road ahead, the recent growth in confidence and positivity for 2022 is tangible and the opportunity for our homeworkers to make significant earnings from late bookings is thoroughly deserved after what they have endured over the last two years,” Ms Whittle said.
With demand surging, she called on operators to improve call centre wait times. Agents are often struggling to get through, she said.
“It’s not as easy to get customers booked and on planes as it used to be though, and in particular the tour operator call centres are in some cases a real challenge to get through to,” she explained.
“We’re hoping suppliers are able to recruit and ease this pressure in the near future.”