Palma, Bellver Castle. | G. Alomar


The writing has been on the wall for months and now alarm bells are ringing. In the UK, if people have not booked their summer holiday to Majorca yet, they are going to be hard pushed to find accommodation and if they do, they may find that having waited to the last minute is going to cost them dearly.

Majorcan hoteliers today confirmed that they have issued an "unprecedented" level of stop-sale orders to tour operators. What this means is that tour operators in the UK are having to ask travel agents to "manage customer expectations" as availability of beds for the peak summer in destinations such as Majorca and Portugal hits critically low levels.

The hoteliers added that neither the European Football Championships nor the Olympics are having any effect on bookings. "It appears that most football fans would rather be watching the football in their shorts with a cold beer in their hands. The threat of insecurity, the Zika virus and the mere cost of travelling to Brazil are putting people off the two major sporting events this summer," a hotelier said today.

A leading British tour operator explained to the Bulletin what all this means.

"When Turkey and Egypt sales slowed down, major operators switched all their capacity in aircraft seats to Spain, and in Majorca you may recall that people like Thomas Cook switched from allocation contracts to "full guarantees", buying huge commitments in areas like Calas de Mallorca in the Chihuahuas Mastines or the Canarios. This is unheard of for areas like this as the hotelier will get his money if the operator sells it or not.

"The general consensus here in Majorca is if you do not have beds guaranteed in July and August, you will not be able to sell anything as the demand will far exceed the supply. There are now also channel management companies which makes this process very much more sophisticated and who are yield-managing the hotel beds daily as well.

"We know of hoteliers who stopped sales in February with all contracts and then said if you wish to continue the price of the beds will have increased by at least 100% It is going to be a very busy July and August indeed as you also have hoteliers and operators who are not organised. One says he sent a 'stop sale' and the other says 'I did not receive it' so both carry on selling something they do not have.

"Net result, the customer invariably does not get what he paid for."