VisitLondon.com, London’s official tourism site, had a 38 percent rise in the number of visitors to its site from the United States in the week after Brexit, said a spokesman, Phil Nettleton. Also, from June 25 to July 20, the site had a 25 percent increase in traffic, compared with the same period last year.
Hotels, too, are seeing an uptick. Paula Fitzherbert, the public relations director for the Maybourne Hotel Group, a group of three luxury properties in London, said that the hotels had gotten more last-minute bookings. “Also, we’ve had more bookings for suites, perhaps because our guests, many of them American, are able to get more value out of the dollar and feel like they can treat themselves,” she said.
This surge of interest from travelers in the United States is expected, said Nadia Popova, the travel project manager for Euromonitor International, a Chicago-based market research company. “Britain, historically, is an expensive vacation destination, and all of a sudden, with the weakened pound, it’s become more affordable, so of course people want to come,” she said.
Some hotels in Britain, especially in London, are trying to capitalize on this interest by luring guests with wallet-friendly packages. Jumeirah Group, a luxury hotel chain based in Dubai, has three hotels in London and introduced a “London for Less” promotion right after Brexit. The offer, exclusively for travelers from the United States, gives guests four nights’ accommodations for the price of three when they book between Aug. 4 and 31 for stays through the end of the year; room prices start at $335 a night.
And though Expedia.com doesn’t offer its own discounts, travelers who buy a flight and hotel package to Britain through the site will pay less than they did last year, Gavin said. “Though hotels may not want to openly admit it, they are definitely discounting more post Brexit, and packages tend to be one of the earliest indicators of this because they allow hotels to discount in a way that keeps the discounted price opaque,” she said.
Recently, a package trip on Expedia.com from the United States to London, including airfare and accommodations, represents a 40 percent savings over a flight and hotel booked separately, compared with 30 percent during the same period last year.
But while a trip to Britain from the United States may be cheaper than it has been in several decades, the opposite is true in Britain, where the weakened pound has made it more expensive for locals to travel internationally.
This is having its own impact on the travel industry.
Airbnb found that the number of bookings in Britain by British residents went up 122 percent in the several weeks since Brexit, compared with the same time the previous year, and indicating that more British are opting for a staycation.
And, post Brexit, Delta made the decision to reduce its U.S.-British flight capacity starting in January because of the decrease in demand of travelers coming to the United States from Britain. The airline currently operates 12 flights a day between the United States and Britain, but from January to March, it will suspend its flight from Kennedy International Airport to Edinburgh Airport, operating five times per week. Also, on the four-times-per-week route from Kennedy to Manchester, England, the airline plans to switch from a 225-seat Boeing 767-300 to a 164-seat Boeing 757-200 aircraft during select off-peak periods.
“The recent currency exchange shifts are affecting demand for travel from the U.K. to the United States, and we have seen a dip in future bookings,” said a Delta spokesman, Anthony Black.
Popova of Euromonitor said that Delta’s reaction isn’t surprising because the Brexit vote has created long-term uncertainty for U.S.-based airlines that operate in Britain. “The EU and the U.S. have an Open Skies Agreement that allows airlines in both countries to fly anywhere between both countries, but now the U.K. will have to negotiate its own agreement with the States, which could be a lengthy and messy process,” she said.