Vaccine confidence encouraging ‘grey pound’ spend on 2021 coach holidays

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Lucketts and Woods say they have experienced a 185% increase in coach holidays bookings thanks to the ‘grey pound’

National Express Group, through its Lucketts Travel and Woods Tours package holiday subsidiaries, has said that it is seeing signs of growing confidence from the ‘grey pound’ in their ability to start to travel again in 2021.

Lucketts Travel and Woods Tours are part of the National Express Transport Services division within the National Express Group. RICHARD SHARMAN

National Express says that Lucketts and Woods have seen a 185% increase in bookings for spring and summer 2021 compared to pre-pandemic figures for 2020.

Jit Desai, Head of Holidays and Travel at National Express explained: “98% of our customer base is over 65 and we’ve seen an increased appetite for travel in the last week or two with an uplift in enquiries and bookings every time there’s been an announcement about new vaccine approvals and the roll-out programme.

“Some of this is postponed travel carried over from last year. But there’s definitely a trend of customers being comfortable that they will have had their vaccination and be protected from spring onwards, so can start to make travel plans. Some are telling us that they’ve already had their jab and can’t wait to go on holiday once guidance allows again.”

Lucketts Travel and Woods Tours provide package coach holidays across the UK and Europe and are currently taking bookings for travel from May onwards. National Express said that the top 10 most popular UK destinations for 2021 bookings to date are: The Cotswolds; The Isle of Wight; York; The Lake District; North Wales; The Isle of Man; Northumbria; The Isles of Scilly; Scotland; and Cornwall.

“Customers are telling us that they are choosing the UK because of the uncertainty around international travel and flights. They are worried about the possibility of cancellations and the potential that they may have to quarantine on return to the UK.”

The operators are offering the option of £1 deposits and a 100% refund, or a free transfer to another departure date of the customers’ choice if their holiday is cancelled due to Covid-19. “This flexibility has been an important part of our discussions when customers are making enquiries and bookings, along with the details of the Covid-secure measures we have put in place,” added Jit.

All coaches have limited seating capacity with passengers required to only use designated seats to comply with social distancing rules, and drivers are temperature-checked prior to starting their shift. Passengers must be temperature checked before they can board the vehicle. “We’ve worked hard to make sure we can offer the same great coach holidays with added reassurance in 2021 and look forward to being back on the road when the time is right,” Jit concluded.