August bed nights static - and tourists booking later

The visitor stats for August are a bit like Jonny Wilkinson's kicking -mixed. The figures are now published (you can view them by clicking here) and at first sight they make for quite encouraging reading. Volume is up 3.7% on 2007 for the month of August and cumulatively for the year up by about 5000 visitors - or just under 2%.

Two points to note however. Firstly the average length of stay has dropped by 3% to 5.48 nights. So if you look at visitor nights, there has been virtually no increase at all. On top of this, the number booking less than 1 month ahead increased from 29% to 34% in August - a pretty dramatic increase in one year. At the same time those booking more than 3 months in advance dropped to 38%. I wonder how long it will be before these two figures cross over?

The fact that Jersey is fast becoming a short break destination, means that we have to adapt our business to deal with a short lead time for bookings and shorter stays. This drives two things - a higher cost per guest and more creative tactical marketing. It also underlines the importance of low cost airlines - much of the last-minute revenue will have been driven by the low fares from the likes of Thomsonfly.

A couple of encouraging signs from August. First time visitors grew by 1% and the average age of staying visitors dropped by 1 year - to 50! At least these stats are moving in the right direction!

September arrival figures are also out and show an increase of just over 1% - it will be interesting to see how these transcribe into staying visitors. As for October - I get the distinct impression that it's proving to be a tough month. Blame the poor summer, the credit crunch or whatever you like, but I reckon numbers are down on last year. We'll see soon enough.

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