With over seventeen years’ experience in the educational travel sector, WST product and marketing manager Nicky Martin has seen first-hand how school trips have evolved over time, and 2013 has brought with it changes of its own.
“People are booking more in advance now; they’re preparing more,” explains Nicky, “We get fewer last minute enquiries so they’re planning more and we’re getting the trips into the diary earlier as well.”
This trend towards more pro-active organisation suggests teachers are recognising how significantly the right location, attractions and accommodation can affect the overall quality of the trip and what students get out of it. Education professionals continue to value school trips that really complement the curriculum and are beginning to open up to the possibility of travelling beyond Europe to allow students to encounter the world’s most incredible educational sights.
“We also see a lot of enquiries now for New York; schools are keen to travel further afield now,” confirms Nicky, though she admits nearby sights have still attracted the majority of WST school groups in 2013 thanks to budgetary pressures.
“The most popular destinations we’ve got, they haven’t really changed, so it still remains as London, Paris and the Opal coast as our most popular,” Nicky comments, adding, “What tends to be the factor is the educational value and price because they’re competing with all the other educational departments that are trying to run trips and also to make it affordable for the parents as well. It’s definitely been price because of the recession for the past four or five years really.”
Despite these financial barriers, Nicky is confident 2014 will be a busy year for educational travel and will be sharing her thoughts on the trends to watch out for in the next WST blog.