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Thinking caps handy?

Just like it was at the start of the lockdown – misguidedly, as it turned out – our newspapers’ travel focus is firmly going to be on staycations over the coming weeks. With hotels set to reopen in July, the foreign-travel quarantine ongoing and many holidaymakers demonstrating caution and residual eco-worry, it’s easy to see why.

Laura at Metro has asked me for UK ideas to that end. Yet in trying to concoct pitches, I felt like I was trying to start a car which had been left in the garage for a decade. Can’t I just have some more free money from the government, I sulkily thought?

Well, possibly, but that’s another story. Anyway, coaxing my reluctant brain into action, I flicked through all the most obvious scenarios – self-guided activity breaks, remote locations free from virus-carrying crowds – and rejected them all as having become a bit passé.

A better idea concerns places – hotels, self-catering, restaurants, haloed golf courses, etc – which have late-summer or autumn availability when, ordinarily, you’d needed to have snaffled them months ago. Do you have any examples like that? They need to be strong, and precise: “In 2019, Hotel A had sold every July and August night by January, but this year there are currently 32 nights still with availability”… something along those lines.

Another more obvious pitching road to go down concerns late-summer or autumn larks in the UK. Are there any foreign classics – leaf-peeping in America, truffle hunting in Italy – which can be replicated or adequately mimicked here?

For those exclusively boasting foreign clients, my feeling is that you’re better looking exclusively at autumnal ideas. Discounts or bargains, like Chris Haslam was asking for, will tempt people away; but so too might the promise of usually-crowded locations likely to be stunningly empty. That could be a museum, a Venetian square or a safari park. Any suggestions along those lines? Any numbers to back it up?

In all cases, I think I’ll pitch these to Metro and others this week, so please feel free to send me succinct ideas. I’m not always the best at replying to emails concerning these newsletters, but I aim to do better.


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