Rachel Gaffney’s Letter From Texas - Revenge Travel

Revenge travel. Yes, it’s a term and lately it’s being used a lot. In some ways it’s an unfortunate word as it implies harm or hurt but when you add the word travel it evokes action and energy. It was not enough that we could not travel for the last year, but to add insult to injury people were relegated to attics, closets and kitchen tables. I don’t care how advanced technology is, human beings are not meant to sit behind screens.

The world is emerging from this extraordinary period of hibernation, some of us are emerging faster than others, but one thing we all have in common and that is the need to drive, fly, walk, swim, hike, climb and bike. We all need to move. Before a volcano erupts, there are several precursors. These include changes in heat flow, swelling of ground surfaces and increases in intensity of felt earthquakes. They shake and undergo tremors for minutes and hours before erupting. The precursors for revenge travel are all there, if you can recognise the signs.

People have not spent money in the last year. Dining out and other extra curricular activities were snapped away from them. Now they are ready to travel and travel with a vengeance. There is pent up demand. Greece, Turkey and Croatia are popular places in Europe right now. They are ready for visitors. These countries have been marketing and informing people very well over here in the United States. I now hear my friends and clients telling me they are going in August.

Sadly, I have had to cancel all remaining client trips to Ireland for 2021 as people are unsure of the message and are confused. To be fair, I am too. I am advising them to wait until 2022. People’s travel budgets have increased. For the last four or five years, I have been booking a lot of multi generational trips. The matriarch and patriarch of the family are gathering families together to create memorable experiences.

I am currently working with a family here in Dallas who will be going to Ireland in May or June of 2022 and there will be 19 people in this group. I will hire a driver for the duration and select only two properties. Airlines, hotels, cruise lines and travel agents have always been in the business of upselling. Now, the customer wants to upgrade to business class, first class, suites and exclusive rental. They feel they deserve it. Their travel budgets were not used and now they want to reward themselves. They also want to travel in small groups or pods and have exclusive access to properties.

Luxury travel is soaring. I am currently researching and looking for properties that will fit this requirement. However, be prepared for what this really means and entails. Exclusive rental and self catering or two very different products. The luxury market is looking for a property to rent exclusively but they do expect all that goes with this. The devil will be in the details. They will want a private chef or access to one when required and a butler or staff member on site. They will want a fully stocked refrigerator and bar and luxury bed linens and towels. A property that springs to mind, ideally equipped and ready for this emerging market, is the Beach House in Ardmore (see above). Properties such as these are so common in Belize, Punta Mita, Florida, Montana and many many more places. My clients use these all the time. People want to stay in one place and unpack their bags once.

Wide open spaces and sustainable travel are of critical importance. Now is the time for places like Cavan, Sligo, Monaghan to sell sell sell. The Shannon waterways are ideally placed to offer river cruising trips (pictured below:'Shannon Princess'; Ireland's bluebook.com). People want to give back and over tourism is another buzz word. Towns and villages in Ireland who did not get the lions share of tourism in the past, should now be hanging out their ‘Open for Business’ signs and pitching like crazy.

Revenge Travel golf courses are filling fast for 2022. I and other travel agents and agencies are re scheduling tee times from 2020 and 2021 along with new clients for 2022. This will probably create a supply and demand situation. BUT, and I cannot stress this enough, people ask me about Ballybunion, Tralee, Old Head of Kinsale, Waterville, Doonbeg, Hogs Head and Killarney all the time. They are fantastic courses and for most people they are bucket list courses, along with Royal County Down, Portrush and more.

But Ireland has so many other wonderful golfing opportunities to offer and people need to know about these. I like to encourage my golfers to try Rosses Point in Sligo, Dooks in County Kerry, Ardglass in County Down, Seapoint in County Louth, Fota Island in County Cork, Mount Juliet Resort (see below). The bucket list courses are crucial and attract people but there are so many more courses. These other courses play a vital role in filling hotels, guest houses and restaurants in their towns and helping us combat over crowding and over tourism.

 As I mentioned above, I have cancelled all my client trips for 2021 and sadly these are cancelled and not to be rescheduled anytime soon. My focus is now on new business for 2022. I am putting together some new itineraries and packages for next year. People are planning their trips. In order to plan a great itinerary for my clients it is crucial that you stay engaged and keep telling us what you have on offer. I and others are watching, reading and listening. There is a groundswell and an increase in intensity. Revenge Travel is here.


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