There has been a sharp change in the trend of Brits booking their summer holidays.

Once a thriving tourism spot, Egypt’s visitor numbers have plummeted from 14 million in 2010 to around nine million last year. Terror attacks in Turkey are also taking their toll on visitor numbers, once attracting more than 2.5 million annual UK visitors. Some hotels are now reporting bookings down by as much as 70 percent.

While Brits continue to avoid previously popular short and mid-haul hot spots, alternative destinations are becoming limited. Spain and the Canary Islands are full and resorts are getting booked up so quickly that many holidaymakers are looking further afield for their sunshine fix. Booking long-haul holidays often requires a bigger budget and more planning, especially for families wanting to travel in school holidays. As a result, holidaymakers are increasingly choosing to wait and keep their eye out for special offers or early bird deals for the following year. Now, more than ever, the high demand from savvy deal-chasers is causing a surge in traffic and added pressure on travel reservation systems.

Last month, one of our customers experienced a record high day for bookings from the launch of its Early Booking offer for 2017 holidays. Although it was launched with minimal initial marketing, it was soon shared online via social media and travel forums. There was a huge surge in both web traffic and bookings. The holidaymakers were quick on the mark and 1,100 bookings were made in one day alone for just under 4,000 guests.

When booking reservations systems are anticipated to receive a sudden peak in traffic due to a new campaign, there are preparations that can be made to ensure that the system continues to run smoothly. In my experience, whether your systems are run in house or provided by a third party, open communication between your tech, commercial and marketing teams is vital for a smooth and successful campaign. Booking systems require ongoing updates which are usually managed during quiet periods in preparation for seasonal peaks, such as the ski season or school holidays. Commercial campaigns require the same extra care and preparation, which can only be done if the IT team has that insight into the commercial activity.

Once a campaign goes live, utilising virtualised systems enables IT teams or software providers to spread system resources accordingly. This means that teams can very quickly ramp up computing power in required areas, ensuring systems remain online and with adequate response times, with no downtime or interruptions.

There might be, of course, occasional unexpected peaks in traffic, perhaps due to a new event, celebrity endorsement or an article with a roundup of holiday recommendations. The latter can potentially cause the most challenges – especially if an article uses a deep link to direct readers to a particular holiday package, perhaps a ski package that includes a complex group of extras and flights that are dependent on a connection to a third party supplier.

All the unexpected traffic deep-linked into your book flow could cause resource-heavy calls funnelled into the same place on your backend system. This can have a negative effect on your brand if performance starts to deteriorate. There are several solutions that tech teams can utilise to minimise any performance disruptions. New, highly efficient technologies such elastic search databases can handle a very high load while producing superfast results.

Following any peak in demand, whether anticipated or unexpected, a “wrap-up” should always be done with teams to review performance, any challenges or possible learnings for next time. Working in this open way ensures that both the platform and your teams are continually improving and becoming more effective in the long term.

This article was originally posted on the Travel Daily website

Author: Gemma Greenwood

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