Call for government action over increased holiday prices during school holidays

(250 Posts)
CatherineHMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 29-Jan-14 10:13:25

Following the story today on how a father's Facebook rant about how travel companies increase holiday prices during the school holidays encouraged 143,000 people to sign a petition calling for government action, we were wondering what Mumsnetters' opinions were on the subject.

Are you sick of being forced to pay dramatically higher prices to take a holiday when schools are out? Or do you see it, as ABTA do, as a straightforward issue of supply and demand?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 29-Jan-14 11:20:03

It is supply and demand.

I do feel though that schools should be given more leeway to allow family holidays during term time, provided that there isn't a general issue with a pupil's attendance.

Bowlersarm Wed 29-Jan-14 11:23:39

Don't the travel companies say it's the other way round?

That school holiday prices are the true price, but they heavily discount for less popular times so people get a bargain then.

I agree with Ali in that it's all about supply and demand. I'm not sure what the government can so about it realistically.

ssd Wed 29-Jan-14 11:25:35

I think its wrong and a bloody disgrace, the travel companies are at it. I'd sigh a petition.

Rosa Wed 29-Jan-14 11:37:23

Where do you draw the line though ?
Some examples Airline fares are higher Friday evenings and Monday mornings as more people try to escape for the weekend. They pay a major factor in holidays as more and more holiday comps rely on the scheduled airlines- not to mention the airlines huge increase in prices over Uk and foreign holiday periods.
The same with trains.
If there is a bank holiday B&B in Uk destinations put the prices up as do hotels.
In areas where there is a big event - sport / concert or whatever bars and restaurants put the prices up .
I think schools should be more flexible as well - however here again where do you draw the line?

LtEveDallas Wed 29-Jan-14 11:42:41

There's already a good thread about this here www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/1979747-AIBU-to-think-people-must-be-a-bit-naive? Catherine.

I think the majority of us think the petition is a daft idea.

Preciousbane Wed 29-Jan-14 11:46:26

As much as it irritates me they are not charities they are businesses and I cannot see this going anywhere.

Personally Governments need to sort out housing and utilities as we all have to use these services. I would prefer some kind of groundswell of support for these issues.

Sheldonswhiteboard Wed 29-Jan-14 11:50:51

Yes it is supply and demand, I'm not sure what the govt can do about it! Frankly I think there are more important things for them to concentrate on. If a hotel owner in Spain sets his rates for the summer, what is a UK tour operator going to do, if they won't agree to those rates other tour operators from another country will so there will be less choice anyway. It's not just school holidays where prices fluctuate, you can often get great deals in city hotels at weekends as they aren't full on people on business as they are during the week, supply and demand again. Should train Co's not charge peak and off peak fares?
It's no great surprise that holidays are more expensive at peak times, you know that when you decide to have children.
If you want a controlled economy go live in a communist country.

It has become stupid as now it's just cheaper to go for a week during school term and then just pay the fee. It's ridiculous, like I said on twitter you can make a holiday educational so they are no missing out. Why can't the teacher provide that weeks set homework and in the evening on holiday before bed do a bit of homework each night. Heck I did that when I went to Australia in college was the first one to hand back my essay! Because I was relaxed I got on with it better!

Any holiday can be educational you just have to look for it. Going to center Parcs talk about the nature and the creates around you, go for a nature hunt.

Going to Disneyland on the way back to England try and get an evening travel plan back so you can go to Paris and talk about the monuments and how the food is different etc.

exexpat Wed 29-Jan-14 11:54:48

I'm afraid I think the whole premise of the petition is ridiculous. The government does not control holiday prices - that is down to market forces, it is a very simple matter of supply and demand. And how is the British government meant to do anything about hotel prices being higher in Spain in August than May, for example?

The only thing the government could possibly do is try to shift school holidays in different regions so not everyone is on holiday at once, which would even out demand and might reduce prices a little (but not for overseas holidays, except perhaps for the flight component). But if they did that, a lot of people would be unhappy if their children had to be at school in August, or they couldn't take a joint holiday with other family members because their holidays didn't coincide, and so on.

I think it is to some extent them having to discount heavily to attract trade in term time. I was talking to the owner of a holiday cottage complex last year, he said they could have filled up twice over in half term, but the week after - nothing, even with substantially reduced rates. I also cannot see how it could be legislated for. I declined to sign that petition.

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 29-Jan-14 12:05:08

There's no point. If anything were to be done, it would be to make term time holidays more expensive to match the peak time prices. School holiday prices wouldn't come down.

I cannot get angry about the price of holidays. No one actually needs a holiday. Yes, they are often things people look forward to and feel that they improve their lives, but nothing terrible will happen if you don't get 2 weeks in Spain during the summer.

It's also silly because the argument makes no sense. It costs more to see a big band play than it does to see a local band in the back room of a pub. People just wouldn't go to see the local band if they were charging £50 a ticket, but one direction tickets sell out quickly even at that price (or more). If they charged peak prices for holidays during term time, then people wouldn't go then. They'd wait until summer to go on holiday when the weather's better because there's no saving to be made from going in February (when the weather will not be as nice is many destinations).

Wallison Wed 29-Jan-14 12:05:59

I don't see how the petition would work in practical terms, because that is the business model that holiday/flight companies work within all over the world, and the UK govt does not have jurisdiction in that area. What the govt could and should imo do is a big fat u-turn on this ridiculous blanket ban on term-time holidays and go back to letting head-teachers have some discretion over whether or not they allow kids to have ten days off school.

Faverolles Wed 29-Jan-14 12:07:00

Presumably if the government took charge and forced companies to reduce prices it will only be a matter of time before said companies are struggling and going out of business?

Center Parcs prices go through the roof during holidays, but the family sized chalets are usually fully booked during busy times, so whilst people are happy to moan, clearly there are still many happy to pay the price.

Faverolles Wed 29-Jan-14 12:08:36

And what Wallison said about discretion from schools for time off.

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 29-Jan-14 12:14:14

Or people could stop whinging that having children at school limits when they can go on holiday and increases the cost. Having children impacts on your life in myriad ways, this is just one of them. You can save money and go on holiday whenever you bloody like once they're finished school. It really isn't the end of the world. Your children won't be scarred for life because they spent holidays at home/visiting relatives because you couldn't afford to take them on an annual trip to Spain (to play on the beach and swim in a swimming pool).

There are actual important issues in the world and yet all this fuss over a problem that everyone knows about long before they have children. May as well start complaining about how it's more expensive for parents to go out because they have to factor in the cost of babysitting.

Wallison Wed 29-Jan-14 12:18:14

<<Your children won't be scarred for life because they spent holidays at home/visiting relatives>>

I wouldn't be so sure about that. It's a long time ago now, but our so-called 'holidays' were like that and they were AWFUL and still make me shudder when I think about them.

meditrina Wed 29-Jan-14 12:19:13

I've seen quite a lot of calls (not just on MN) that the Government should "do something".

Asked to give some ideas of what "something" might be, there's usually complete silence.

Wallison Wed 29-Jan-14 12:26:33

Just to clarify, spending time at home during the holidays was fine because we'd be out playing on our bikes and getting up to mischief. But staying with relatives is not a 'holiday'; please don't do this to your kids. Lie to the school, invent a lurgy, pay the fine, go to prison etc etc ... anything is better than spending precious summer time listening to the grown-ups talk about boilers and spending three hours discussing what kind of sandwiches to make for lunch while being told off for reading a book or pinching your brother when you are practically gnawing your own arm off at the sheer boredom of it all.

allmycats Wed 29-Jan-14 12:32:54

they are businesses and it is not up to the government to dictate market forces

Indith Wed 29-Jan-14 12:43:21

School holidays are only one factor though. It won't change when prime times fall, people will continue to want to holiday over easter, over Christmas, to ski in Feb when the snow is good, to go away in August when the weather is in theory best. schools are just one driver. You can't have the government setting prices of holidays. add others said, costs of the plane, the ferry etc change according to peak times. Will it put a stop to weekend getaway deals? Monday to Friday is a typical working week, people tend to have their little breaks at weekends, will hotels have to charge the same for a Saturday as for a Wednesday?

TunipTheUnconquerable Wed 29-Jan-14 12:46:46

If the prices were all set the same it wouldn't magically make more holidays appear, it would just mean everything booked up a long, long time in advance for the peak times.

I do think the people who have signed this petition haven't really thought it through....

LimburgseVlaai Wed 29-Jan-14 12:51:31

As others have said, not workable at all.

TOP TIP TOP TIP TOP TIP TOP TIP TOP TIP TOP TIP TOP TIP

Other countries usually have different term times. If you choose the right week (e.g. towards the end of August) you can book exactly the same holiday with companies like ecamp or canvas for literally half the price if you go to their Dutch or German site. So do your research on the UK site, then book the exact same mobile home on the exact same campsite through the European website.

klmmum Wed 29-Jan-14 12:52:23

I can't believe some people on here are complaining that others want to take their children on holiday at a fair price!

As parents we fully expect to pay more for holidays taken in school holiday times. All we are asking is for prices to be a little more evenly spread, an increase of more than 300% overnight as soon as school holidays start surely cannot be justified! Even in the colder months as soon as it's half term prices jump dramatically.

Parents who are trying to do the right thing are the ones getting penalised.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46455

OddBoots Wed 29-Jan-14 12:52:35

Daft idea, if the state can't even keep food affordable for all families then why would/should they interfere in the cost of luxuries?

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