This time last year Cruise Holidays of Woodinville was in the middle of a full-fledged melt-down of consumer optimism relating to the national economy. Banks were looking shaky, gas prices were sky high, real estate prices were tanking and the news media was beating the “worst economic downturn since the depression,” drum. Folks were just plain scared!
Now we’ve seen trillion dollar bailouts; we’ve seen the stock market crater and begin a major climb out of the depths. While the economy in many parts of the country is still weak and floundering, in the Pacific Northwest things are rebounding at a better rate than most places in the nation.
In the cruise and land vacation business we’re now seeing a strong recovery. Consumers have decided to go ahead and take a vacation and take advantage of the low prices of the decade. Our store had a record sales month for July and continues to see strong momentum in August. Our customers have decided the world isn’t ending, and life’s too short not to enjoy the recharging break a good vacation provides.
But, this recovery is still a little tentative, because many folks are booking close-in dates for their cruises and land vacations. Cruise lines are working on offering their best prices for cruises in 2010 for those who might book early. Some are even guaranteeing that if a lower price comes along they will give it to passengers who have already booked (something Cruise Holidays of Woodinville has been doing for the past six years).
It’s hard to forecast the future, but we’re definitely seeing green shoots of optimism on the part of our customers. It’s like the pumpkin plants I have growing at home, the vines have several potential pumpkins developing, but there’s no way to know how big they might become—in the meantime we’ll continue to water, fertilize and nuture them the best we can.