What does the future hold?
If I was to announce that the publication of the spending review was a good thing, I would no doubt be criticised. After all these two words convey the likelihood of difficult times and potential hardship ahead. However from the perspective of understanding what now lies in store for us, surely is a good thing. We can at least now plan ahead.
What were fast becoming difficult times prior to the release of the detail behind the review are now not so bad. I still maintain that 2011 remains a bit of an unknown quantity as far as how busy the market will be, but there are indications that life goes on, especially as people can now understand whether and to what extent the spending review will affect them.
I approach this from two perspectives. We are finding good visitor activity and in particular 2011 booking enquiries are being placed. The trend through the year has been towards immediate bookings, i.e leaving decisions to the very last moment and early signs are this has changed marginally. The decision process has been very much, can I afford to take a holiday and will my work situation allow me to take the time out? The fact there are signs people are looking further ahead gives us encouragement.
The second perspective, we are finding an increasing numbers of homeowners approaching us with a desire to operate within the furnished holiday let market. At present we have upward of twenty owners who are committing to and preparing their property for the new holiday let season. That too is a good sign. So what are they seeing in the market?
I wrote in an earlier blog and also in an editorial that appeared across the group of Sussex newspapers in September, that both the South Downs National Park that gets its full authority next year and the London Olympics in 2012 can only have positive spin off for the holiday rentals market in the south east of England. That on its own is potentially excellent news, but other factors will almost certainly act in our favour.
I read recently that tax duties on flights are now 325% higher than they were four years ago. The latest increases which came into effect on 1 November saw the duty alone on a family of four taking a flight to Australia increase to £340, up from £80 in 2006. Where pricing on flights is discounted it is generally based on making an early booking. The pattern we have seen in the market this year would indicate many people are unable to commit to booking so early. Coupled to that, nervous flyers might not like the recent events surrounding Rolls Royce engines and I gather further industrial action in the airline industry has also not been ruled out for the summer!
These aren't reasons to cheer, but enough to encourage many to holiday at home in 2011.
I get the impression that many are of the opinion that life goes on, however there has to be a degree of realism when valuing where and how they spend their money effectively.