Door2Tour.com has revealed that a recent surge in demand for breaks to the filming location of period television drama Downton Abbey has led to a shortage in availability, leaving it struggling to meet demand. The online coach holidays consolidator claims that the sudden clamour for coach trips to Highclere Castle, which took off in February and has continued throughout March, has left coach breaks to the venue so few and far between that many hopeful passengers have been turned away.
Tours for Downton Abbey first went on sale on Door2Tour in May 2011, but sales have rapidly increased in line with the popularity and success of the series. Such is the interest that 2012 sales have already outstripped total sales for 2011, up 55% on the total sales for 2011 alone.
Sales for Downton Abbey coach tours are believed to have snowballed in line with the hit drama's recent success at various television awards. Despite not winning any Baftas in 2011, for which it was nominated for 3, the TV series went on to scoop 4 Emmys in September for best direction, best mini-series, best writing and best supporting actress. Its success across the pond was also sealed by a prestigious Golden Globe award in January, followed by the coveted Best Drama accolade at the UK National Television Awards.
Kate Glanfield, Web Manager of Door2Tour.com said: "We've had so much demand for Downton Abbey in recent weeks that we're not able to service all of our enquiries. We were down to the last one or two seats by the end of March and we're still getting interest now. We're literally turning people away."
The struggle to meet demand is fuelled as tour operators become unsuccessful in getting tickets to the castle. With the venue only open for limited periods between July and September and three ad hoc weeks in the year due to other events and filming, combined with a limited daily capacity, there are simply not enough tickets to go around. 2012 is now fully booked, with 2013 already filling up quickly.
Downton Abbey portrays the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them during the early 1900s. After a highly acclaimed Series 1 and Series 2, filming for Series 3 has already started filming and will be broadcast in September 2012.
Kate concluded: "Usually when a tour sells out and there is unprecedented demand it's possible to obtain more availability, which was recently the case with Andre Rieu's concert in Maastricht, where over 2,000 passengers ended up travelling. With Highclere Castle, tickets are like gold dust and our suppliers are facing long waiting lists. At the moment all we can do is add customers onto our cancellation lists and hope that they are lucky enough to get on. The in joke here is that it's easier to get on the Inca Trail."
Passengers wishing to book a Downton Abbey coach tour may need to wait until later on in the year before 2013 dates become available.
Kate concluded: "Downton Abbey fans can be rest assured that there will be more availability for the future. In the meantime, customers can still give us a call to express interest and we'll contact them as soon as more dates are in, or of course satisfy their Downton Abbey cravings with Series 3."