Dynamic market moves

A BOOM in dynamic packaging by agents appears to be causing a downturn in sales of traditional package holidays.

Package sales in January so far are around 8% down on last year, despite the impact of the tsunami 12 months ago. Yet accommodation-only providers report soaring sales. Libra Holidays sales and marketing director Paul Riches said business was “patchy”, and admitted: “It’s not as good as everybody was expecting.”

Advantage managing director and Triton board member John McEwan said: “There is evidence a lot of agents are putting packages together themselves.”

He described the package market as “a little soft”.

However, On Holiday Group chief executive Steve Endacott said sales through its dynamic packaging operation, Holiday Brokers, have risen 200% on the same time last year.

Endacott said cuts in commission, in particular by Thomson, have forced agents into dynamic packaging to make money.

He predicted agents would develop growing confidence in dynamic packaging, especially after ABTA’s recent court victory over the Civil Aviation Authority’s definition of a package and need for ATOL bonding (Travel Weekly January 20).

Cosmos group managing director Terry Williamson fumed: “Independents have been brainwashed that dynamic packaging is the only way to survive.”

He said sales of Cosmos packages are 12% down year on year so far this month, while the group’s accommodation-only operation is 134% ahead.

He said Spain and Portugal are proving the most popular destinations among users of the site. Trust Accommodation sales and marketing director John Harding said the operator is 200% up on last year, taking 1,000 passengers a day.

Apartments Abroad managing director Ian Thirlwell said sales have risen by 16% year on year this month thanks to bookings through independent agents.

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