After resolving all those pesky little differences of opinion following the war of 1812, Great Britain and the U.S. have had a long history of partnerships and alliances, much of it spurred on, no doubt, by a long history of Anglophile fascination by generations of Americans.
Needless to say, that generally makes Great Britain the “Go To” destination for many first-time American visitors to Europe and, according to Simon Bradley, executive v.p., The Americas for VisitBritain, a big reason why that destination entity is a frequent winner in Recommend’s Readers’ Choice Awards as Best International Destination for Travel Agent Support.
“Britain is the local destination from the U.S. We would expect to have a lot of support from travel agents because I’m sure that British destinations and travel companies offering British products are a major part of their business, so I think that’s really important,” explains Bradley. “But it’s great to see in what’s been a very challenging year that we’re getting their support, which is what we really value.”
Bradley cites industry efforts in general, including airlines and tour operators, for what he sees as a turn-around in travel, as well as major efforts by the travel agent community. “The travel agents have been working incredibly hard to convince their customers to travel and to mine their databases and get more business from their customers,” he says. “So I think all-in-all, it’s been a terrific year by the travel industry pulling together to overcome this.”
And to ensure that momentum going into 2010, Bradley says, “We have a whole range of really great products available for travel agents on a commission basis that they can access for their clients, as well, and we will continue to make them aware of that. We’re also just beginning to put out feelers for 2010 to better the moment, so I’m sure there’ll be some travel agent dimensions to that as well, and we’ll be looking to work with the agent community as we always do.”
Bradley’s optimism is based on what VisitBritain has experienced since August, when there was a visible turn-around in travel to Britain from the U.S. “I think certainly there’s a lot of pent-up demand. I mean we’ve seen that this fall, as well. We’ve had a campaign running called, ‘More Britain for Your Buck’ that has really resonated with the audience looking for value and looking for product that’s going to get them great value,” Bradley explains. “We’ve certainly detected a real pent-up demand in the marketplace—not just for Great Britain but for many destinations—and I think we’ll see as consumer confidence rises, hopefully early in 2010, we’ll see a lot of demand for travel.”