Virgin Holidays: April Showers Drive Consumers Abroad

May 02, 2012, 06:29 ET from Virgin Holidays

LONDON, May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Holiday bookings rise with water levels following wettest April in 100 years

Virgin Holidays has seen demand jump 55% year-on-year as dampened Brits look overseas to escape the biblical rain that led to April's washout being the worst in a century.

'Soggy Sunday', April 29th, was the wettest day so far in a record-breaking month, and alone saw enquiries increase by more than half - with long lazy days in the Caribbean closely followed by breaks in Florida, aptly called the Sunshine State where it was a balmy 31⁰C over the weekend - the most popular destinations.

As a result, the company is considering the introduction of a new 'Downpour Discount', whereby rising rainfall levels here in the UK trigger a scalable reduction in the price of a holiday to escape them. The higher the inch in rainfall the bigger the discount - offering Brits some light relief as they prepare to continue battling the elements that are forecast to stay with us for some time.

Thanks to the 'Awful April', Brits seemed determined to put the gloomy weather and even gloomier predictions for a summer staycation in to touch, as travel in August and September 2012 were the highest in demand for enquiries made last week. Sunday's downpours, which saw an average of 97mm of rain fall across the UK - and meant the country received 166% of the average for April, set off a wave of interest in warmer, drier climes. Web traffic to rose by 11% last week versus the same week last year, with over 600 enquiries about Orlando villas made every day alone. Call volumes peaked for the month on 30th April - believed to be a direct result of the downpour of the previous day with 35% of customers booking to go to Florida and 25% to the Caribbean. Meanwhile on the high street consumers sheltered for cover in our retail network where bookings rose by 256% this weekend compared to last year. These results were also echoed by our travel agent trade partners as Florida bookings increased by 77% for summer 2012 and a staggering 104% for summer 2013.

And despite last week's confirmation that the country has slipped in to a double dip recession, the wet weather seems to have convinced sun-starved Brits that the prospect of a submerged summer is worth spending money to escape from, with the average family of four getting away to the Caribbean from £2,866, or to Florida from £2,159.

Amanda Wills, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays, said: "This ongoing poor weather is no joke for those affected by flooding so we're looking at various rainy day discounts initiatives to give them something to look forward to. It's a simple equation - the more it rains here, the more money you could save on a holiday to get away from it. The increase in demand across all of our channels tells us that consumers are desperate to find some sun. There are some fantastic bargains to be had and the surging value of the pound means that their hard-earned cash goes further once they get there.

"After the wettest April in a century, and numerous predictions for an overcrowded, washout summer, it's hard to blame them for turning their back on the staycation."

About Virgin Holidays:

Virgin Holidays is the UK's leading Worldwide Holiday Company with adventures to the USA, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle and Far East, the Indian Ocean and Australasia. 

As one of the top travel companies in the UK, Virgin Holidays strives to deliver amazing holiday experiences to all customers. Formed in 1985 following the creation of Virgin Atlantic, and built on the Virgin principles of excellent customer service, high quality and value for money, Virgin Holidays offers maximum convenience and flexibility with an emphasis on fun and excitement. The brand is particularly known for its 'Rockstar Service' approach to customer service, where honesty and reliability is delivered with a sense of fun and an innovative twist.

SOURCE Virgin Holidays