A somewhat clichéd holiday experience is that of rushing to claim a sunbed by the pool in the morning.
Usually – and something that’s been highlighted in many advertisements over the year – it’s German tourists who are stereotypically portrayed as being well ahead of the game when it comes to seizing the (literal) hot spots.
The image in the mind’s eye is well captured in this classic Carling Black Label advert of yesteryear, depicting a smooth, Bond-esque Brit outwitting a gaggle of elderly German tourists rushing poolside.
I’m not sure Carling would get away with depicting such a national stereotype these days (cuckoo clocks, speedos and handlebar moustaches too)...but tourists racing for the sunniest spots were in the news last summer, which means the battle is still real for many holidaymakers.
Travel operator Thomas Cook has made headlines this week by publicising its plans to trial a sunbed reservation scheme as an additional service for its customers in some resorts. The option is limited, in so much that not all sunbeds will be available for reservation – meaning those who don’t bother with it won’t automatically be relegated to the peripheral poolside shadows.
It’s a move that I’m certainly a fan of. I tend to cherry pick my holiday destinations (adult only hotels primarily!) to try and avoid having to have a sharp elbowed scrap at poolside, as well as not having to lie next to rowdy, dive bombing families. Yes, I am a sunshine Victor Meldrew.
I also like a fairly flexible schedule when on holiday. Although I’m a real night owl the majority of the time, when it comes to holidays, I get up earlier than usual and head to the gym before breakfast (mainly urged along by my wife). But while I get a comparatively early routine on the go, by the time gym, breakfast and shower are done, the sunbeds are usually beginning to fill up, with prime locations pilfered. So, I’d certainly be inclined to book in advance. After all, I don’t want to head home with a patchy tan!
According to the results of our scientifically organised, fully representative Twitter poll, it seems many Brits actually enjoy the prospect of a sun soaked brawl, so it seems they’d be inclined to skip booking in advance as an option.
I’m sure if the plan gets rolled out on a wider scale – and if it’s a money spinner it no doubt will – sun seekers might be forced to book ahead whether they like it or not. As The Sun, have gleefully put it though victory over the Germans at last!*
*Update: The Germans have been offered the same booking system…so the battle continues.