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Caribbean Beauty

Caribbean Bookings - A Black September For Real

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Dear All

For a long time now I have been bleating on this site about our small internet company's (hotel booking software) collapsing Caribbean holiday bookings.

By last autumn they had fallen by something like 70-80% year on year compared with 2007 (although it was hard to tell for sure due to changing business tactics and product half way through the 2007/08 year).

However, using the same sales product/methods in 2009 as 2008, and with a similar sized hotel client base I can now reveal that our September turnover is on track to be just 32% of September 2008 turnover figures. That's a whopping -68% fall. Historically around 70% of our sales were to UK travellers (visiting the anglo-ex-empire islands).

Many economists like to study shipping or land courier indeces to report on levels of consumer spending. They are fair yardsticks.

But my own theory (being ego-centric!) is that sales of Caribbean Holidays - the ultimate discretionary purchase is a tropical long-haul holiday that nobody ever actually NEEDS - are a good indicator of the spending ability & consumer demands of the "aspirational-chav", middle and upper classes. In other words everyone except the underbelly of society for whom a trip to Blackpool would be a wild extravagance that they could only ever dream about and never hope to achieve.

On the basis of my scientific statistics I therefore conclude that the UK economy has gone from very slow to stop. Batten down the hatches folks, the sh*t-storm has arrived.

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Dear All

For a long time now I have been bleating on this site about our small internet company's (hotel booking software) collapsing Caribbean holiday bookings.

By last autumn they had fallen by something like 70-80% year on year compared with 2007 (although it was hard to tell for sure due to changing business tactics and product half way through the 2007/08 year).

However, using the same sales product/methods in 2009 as 2008, and with a similar sized hotel client base I can now reveal that our September turnover is on track to be just 32% of September 2008 turnover figures. That's a whopping -68% fall. Historically around 70% of our sales were to UK travellers (visiting the anglo-ex-empire islands).

Many economists like to study shipping or land courier indeces to report on levels of consumer spending. They are fair yardsticks.

But my own theory (being ego-centric!) is that sales of Caribbean Holidays - the ultimate discretionary purchase is a tropical long-haul holiday that nobody ever actually NEEDS - are a good indicator of the spending ability & consumer demands of the "aspirational-chav", middle and upper classes. In other words everyone except the underbelly of society for whom a trip to Blackpool would be a wild extravagance that they could only ever dream about and never hope to achieve.

On the basis of my scientific statistics I therefore conclude that the UK economy has gone from very slow to stop. Batten down the hatches folks, the sh*t-storm has arrived.

Would you attribute any of the fall to being in rural Norfolk which rather precludes you being able to take the hoteliers out for a glass or two of rum/lager/wine/cold tea?

p-o-p

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Guest KingCharles1st

I've been enduring it for about 8 months BAD now- get operating costs to min, debt to Zero. Relax, let it go- feel the luurrve

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is there a bargain bucket on your website for a poor Bloo Loo in need of a break?

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Would you attribute any of the fall to being in rural Norfolk which rather precludes you being able to take the hoteliers out for a glass or two of rum/lager/wine/cold tea?

p-o-p

Negative - we have pretty much the same level of hotelier clients using our software this year as last, although you are correct in that recruiting new clients is harder (although they are getting desperate and starting to enquire about our booking engine by email, when they would rather die than modernise their first-generation websites by installing a booking engine back in the boom years). I was referring to the sales THEY make to bums-in-beds using the software (a small % of which is paid to us as our fees). Therefore the fewer people travelling to the region who book online = less wonga in our pockets.

But thank the Lord we now live in England's safest county crime-wise - we are still enjoying the euphoria of not requiring Rottie dogs, razor wire, armed response security guards and burglar bars on the windows, to avoid regular robbery and gang-rape.

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Might that mean you have to add value and/or drop prices?

Added value might involve simple things like wifi access throughout a holiday. These days, if one provider offers that kind of advantage and another doesn't - well, that's the market.

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(Snip)

On the basis of my scientific statistics I therefore conclude that the UK economy has gone from very slow to stop. Batten down the hatches folks, the sh*t-storm has arrived.

IMHO input such as this is way better than any graph, 'tis real evidence of a change and will hopefully not be considered purely as anecdotal.

The sh*t-storm arrived a good while ago, it is only the Gordonment and banksters that would have you believe otherwise.

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IMHO input such as this is way better than any graph, 'tis real evidence of a change and will hopefully not be considered purely as anecdotal.

The sh*t-storm arrived a good while ago, it is only the Gordonment and banksters that would have you believe otherwise.

as an annecdotal, how many single middle aged women do you get booking to experience the black mamba? :lol:

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How much of part do you think the high profile the news channels give the all the Brit tourists that get murdered or mugged over there is affecting bookings.

Do you have any industry contacts that do bookings for the Far East for example as a comparison.

My annedoctal is that I would like to go to the Carribean but with the pound so low I went to Argentina one of the few countries where the pound is stronger. Colleques at work are going to other non euro or dollar countries and that tends to me east.

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....................

But thank the Lord we now live in England's safest county crime-wise - we are still enjoying the euphoria of not requiring Rottie dogs, razor wire, armed response security guards and burglar bars on the windows, to avoid regular robbery and gang-rape.

Surely you get to recognise them after a while.

p-o-p

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Guest KingCharles1st
as an annecdotal, how many single middle aged women do you get booking to experience the black mamba? :lol:

I...don't...understand... :( ??

Could you explain please? With pictures maybe ;)

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Dear All

For a long time now I have been bleating on this site about our small internet company's (hotel booking software) collapsing Caribbean holiday bookings.

By last autumn they had fallen by something like 70-80% year on year compared with 2007 (although it was hard to tell for sure due to changing business tactics and product half way through the 2007/08 year).

However, using the same sales product/methods in 2009 as 2008, and with a similar sized hotel client base I can now reveal that our September turnover is on track to be just 32% of September 2008 turnover figures. That's a whopping -68% fall. Historically around 70% of our sales were to UK travellers (visiting the anglo-ex-empire islands).

Many economists like to study shipping or land courier indeces to report on levels of consumer spending. They are fair yardsticks.

But my own theory (being ego-centric!) is that sales of Caribbean Holidays - the ultimate discretionary purchase is a tropical long-haul holiday that nobody ever actually NEEDS - are a good indicator of the spending ability & consumer demands of the "aspirational-chav", middle and upper classes. In other words everyone except the underbelly of society for whom a trip to Blackpool would be a wild extravagance that they could only ever dream about and never hope to achieve.

On the basis of my scientific statistics I therefore conclude that the UK economy has gone from very slow to stop. Batten down the hatches folks, the sh*t-storm has arrived.

Of the 32%, do you have a feel for the split between aspirational-chav, middle and upper that you still attract and how different is this to before?

Edited by Minos

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Might that mean you have to add value and/or drop prices?

Added value might involve simple things like wifi access throughout a holiday. These days, if one provider offers that kind of advantage and another doesn't - well, that's the market.

True added value in the Carribean is 24 hour armed security.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
How much of part do you think the high profile the news channels give the all the Brit tourists that get murdered or mugged over there is affecting bookings.

Do you have any industry contacts that do bookings for the Far East for example as a comparison.

My annedoctal is that I would like to go to the Carribean but with the pound so low I went to Argentina one of the few countries where the pound is stronger. Colleques at work are going to other non euro or dollar countries and that tends to me east.

Vietnam's getting popular but I'd avoid this place here. Dangerous now for tourists. Once the old King goes it'll be a FCO no travel notice.

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Might that mean you have to add value and/or drop prices?

Added value might involve simple things like wifi access throughout a holiday. These days, if one provider offers that kind of advantage and another doesn't - well, that's the market.

You are correct, indeed the 68% fall is not 68% fewer humans flying but is a 68% drop in booking fees from the resorts (fees are a % of the sale rate achieved therefore revenue has falled due to reduced numbers travelling and reduced - slashed heavily in some cases - rates).

Example - Jamaica has several thousand new rooms come on-stream this year as massive Spanish mega-chain resorts have opened their doors with impeccably bad timing. Some of these hotels have several pools, several restaurants and so on. One or two have closed within months of opening, their Spanish chain/bank owners preferring to fire the staff and mothball them until the good times return (LOL - they will be like museum pieces by then).

Some that remain open are offering tour operators (eg package companies etc) all-inclusive rates as low as US$60 pppn. It is possible to find amazing deals of just $99 PPPN for room, all meals and drinks in a new luxury hotel in Jamaica - you could not buy 3 meals a day and drinks in a typical european/Uk resort for that, never mind it includes the room (Blue Loo - re your post, book your flight out this winter on the new BA Montego Bay route and buy yourself a mega cheap AI rate by booking direct with a resort and you will have your steal of a deal).

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Umm, bad luck, can't see this turning around soon.

This is before the bill for all the extra debt / government spending falls on the mat - which it will next year. The pound can't even keep up against the dollar - which major countries are now dumping.

Any chance of extending the reach of your site to attract customers from elsewhere in the world or is the Caribbean holiday a particular UK penchant?

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Guest Parry aka GOD
You are correct, indeed the 68% fall is not 68% fewer humans flying but is a 68% drop in booking fees from the resorts (fees are a % of the sale rate achieved therefore revenue has falled due to reduced numbers travelling and reduced - slashed heavily in some cases - rates).

Example - Jamaica has several thousand new rooms come on-stream this year as massive Spanish mega-chain resorts have opened their doors with impeccably bad timing. Some of these hotels have several pools, several restaurants and so on. One or two have closed within months of opening, their Spanish chain/bank owners preferring to fire the staff and mothball them until the good times return (LOL - they will be like museum pieces by then).

Some that remain open are offering tour operators (eg package companies etc) all-inclusive rates as low as US$60 pppn. It is possible to find amazing deals of just $99 PPPN for room, all meals and drinks in a new luxury hotel in Jamaica - you could not buy 3 meals a day and drinks in a typical european/Uk resort for that, never mind it includes the room (Blue Loo - re your post, book your flight out this winter on the new BA Montego Bay route and buy yourself a mega cheap AI rate by booking direct with a resort and you will have your steal of a deal).

15 dorrra (seriously) for an airport hotel here now. Nice too. Most places are half price and half of little is very little.

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You are correct, indeed the 68% fall is not 68% fewer humans flying but is a 68% drop in booking fees from the resorts (fees are a % of the sale rate achieved therefore revenue has falled due to reduced numbers travelling and reduced - slashed heavily in some cases - rates).

Example - Jamaica has several thousand new rooms come on-stream this year as massive Spanish mega-chain resorts have opened their doors with impeccably bad timing. Some of these hotels have several pools, several restaurants and so on. One or two have closed within months of opening, their Spanish chain/bank owners preferring to fire the staff and mothball them until the good times return (LOL - they will be like museum pieces by then).

Some that remain open are offering tour operators (eg package companies etc) all-inclusive rates as low as US$60 pppn. It is possible to find amazing deals of just $99 PPPN for room, all meals and drinks in a new luxury hotel in Jamaica - you could not buy 3 meals a day and drinks in a typical european/Uk resort for that, never mind it includes the room (Blue Loo - re your post, book your flight out this winter on the new BA Montego Bay route and buy yourself a mega cheap AI rate by booking direct with a resort and you will have your steal of a deal).

thanks...can this be done on your website?...you can pm the URL if you are shy.

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Vietnam's getting popular but I'd avoid this place here. Dangerous now for tourists. Once the old King goes it'll be a FCO no travel notice.

Noooo, there's the trip to Godland off the list then.

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Guest Parry aka GOD
Noooo, there's the trip to Godland off the list then.

You'll be okay . . . you just need an escort.

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as an annecdotal, how many single middle aged women do you get booking to experience the black mamba? :lol:

Not just middle aged - on our island a 70 year old British pensioner lady turned HIV+ after over-indulging in the delights of the Big Bamboo. I imagine she did not insist on condom use as she had little fear of pregancy.

But these Shirley Valentine ladies buying young boys for nookie used to make up a sizeable proportion of travellers to the islands - all paid for by divorce settlements (derived from house sales) or from MEWing their houses during the boom years.

So UK HPI paid for West Indian beach gigolos to service our senior ladies - at least it wasn't totally wasted :lol:

Meanwhile a lot of these guys are now unemployed with no state benefits and turning to crime - they never worked (unless you include closing your eyes and taking viagra in order to be able to stoke the fire of some turkey-necked old ladies) and had all their meals, clothes, cars and homes bought for them - the old ladies have literally dried up, if you excuse the pun, as their houses/investments/interest have crashed in value

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Guest Parry aka GOD
Not just middle aged - on our island a 70 year old British pensioner lady turned HIV+ after over-indulging in the delights of the Big Bamboo. I imagine she did not insist on condom use as she had little fear of pregancy.

But these Shirley Valentine ladies buying young boys for nookie used to make up a sizeable proportion of travellers to the islands - all paid for by divorce settlements (derived from house sales) or from MEWing their houses during the boom years.

So UK HPI paid for West Indian beach gigolos to service our senior ladies - at least it wasn't totally wasted :lol:

Meanwhile a lot of these guys are now unemployed with no state benefits and turning to crime - they never worked (unless you include closing your eyes and taking viagra in order to be able to stoke the fire of some turkey-necked old ladies) and had all their meals, clothes, cars and homes bought for them - the old ladies have literally dried up, if you excuse the pun, as their houses/investments/interest have crashed in value

:lol:

I'm sorry CB, I just can't excuse that pun!

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thanks...can this be done on your website?...you can pm the URL if you are shy.

No - I have a Jamaican all-inclusive client but it is not quite that cheap. Make Google your friend - and book direct with the hotel to maximise savings* (do not be afraid to haggle by email) while hunting a cheap BA/Virgin etc flight to the region. A brand new Jamaican spanish owned mega resort is your best bet now for an exclusive feel (you might have the 2 thousand rooms almost to yourself - often these days there are more staff than guests but this won't last for long as they will close next year).

Check flights first - avoid xmas, and anytime between Feb and end April - cheapest months are autumn, January, May through to June. Avoid school hols.

Above all, use a UK credit card to book both the flight and the hotel, in case either folds before you go.

* build your own package, haggle and avoid paying the profits of an intermediary

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