Holiday Price Rise Scandal. Evil Holiday Companies Increase Costs during School Holidays
After the floods and storms the holiday industry has been all over the news again in the last few weeks with the cost of going away in the school holidays coming under scrutiny. Paul Cookson, a dad from Devon posted a rant on Facebook saying that he was ‘sick to death of being ripped off’ by holiday companies which went viral and pointed people to an epetition on the government’s feedback site calling for price caps on holidays in school holidays.
‘It’s time to stop the holiday companies cashing in on school holidays’ screamed The Daily Mail and even The Independent weighed in with ‘Father’s rage at expensive breaks’. ‘We found the cost of a getaway increased by up to 300%’ was the result of some quality investigative journalism by the Manchester.
The epetition comfortably passed the 100,000 threshold where parliamentary time will be allocated if an MP requests it and so on 24th February MPs debated the issue. Naturally I spent the afternoon with my henchmen deep in the bowels of our secret lair in an abandoned Cornish tin mine watching the coverage closely whilst stroking my cat and barking orders through the communication system.
In fact we have been adjusting our prices both up and down according to the data for years and have ended up with the lowest priced weeks at up to 75% less than the the highest. Typically there will be 12 weeks at the lowest price and 6 weeks at the highest price, we always sell all the high price weeks and perhaps 2 out of the 12 lowest priced ones. If anything the data is telling us that the differentials should be even greater.
Fortunately the debate in parliament was a very sensible one as it is obvious that price controls are not something that could ever be applied in a democracy. In the end all of us only price according to the market and the real issue is the change in rules concerning taking children out of school during term time. Ministers mumbled that there hadn’t been a change just a clarification but whatever they call it we are certainly seeing the effect.
Solutions suggested included staggering half terms and start dates for the main holidays, allowing a fixed number of days per year or allowing time off only at certain less critical times. All parents know that there are some weeks when the children do less important work than others and I do think there is a strong argument that holiday time can be of great value to a child and if going in term time makes it possible then on balance it may be worth doing. I personally took my children out of school on many occasions to holiday in Cornwall and Europe and feel they benefitted from the experience. My son’s A stars in Spanish & French A levels would seem to back this up!
I do hope that after the storms and vilification in the press the next few weeks will be a lot quieter. I must go now as I have the sharks to feed and my metal teeth need polishing.
In between planning world domination Simon Tolson-Blofeld runs Above Beach Cottages and consults on holiday cottage websites.