Vacation.com's Lovell Encouraged By Longer Cruise Booking Window
With the 1st official month of Wave Season in the books, fresh reports from suppliers, agents and financial analysts indicate different booking patterns than years past.
For one, there's the timing of the bookings. "I absolutely believe Wave started in early November, carried right through December," says V.com's John Lovell. "Promotion was extremely strong in the 4th quarter. Consequently we had the best turn we've ever seen in terms of revenue on the books from the preceding year."
Lovell is encouraged because Wave season has traditionally been January through March. "But the last 2 years we've really seen strong promotion from suppliers in the 4th quarter, not only in the cruise channel, but the tour channel, the fun and sun market. So it's almost like wave and high season have now been pushed backwards a month or 2."
Some retailers have reported that January's Wave isn't as consistent as in the past, perhaps because December bookings were uncommonly strong. But Lovell notes that more suppliers are trying to extend the high season: "Instead of that 3 month window, it's more of the 4 to 4½ month if you count that mid-November, the holiday/Christmas period, now it extends backwards, and you still have the traditional Wave Season with heavy promotion."
That trend is leading to another positive trend as consumers book summer vacations earlier: "I'm very encouraged that the booking windows are much wider than they have been in the last 8 months," Lovell concludes.