Travelsphere and Just You parent G Touring is set to relaunch Page & Moy, owner Bruce Poon-Tip and managing director Alastair Campbell tell Lucy Huxley. 

The relaunch of Page & Moy is “imminent” and is going to be “a-maz-ing”, according to owner Bruce Poon-Tip, who acquired the brand in a 2018 auction.

The boss of G Touring brands Travelsphere and Just You, which Page & Moy will join, said: “We have been ready to go for some time and we’re excited about what we have.

“It’s not going to resemble anything Page & Moy was doing previously, other than in terms of quality and service. It’s something that has never been done before.

“We’ve been waiting for the right timing. We delayed the launch from June 2019, and then from January 2020, but things are now more stable, so the relaunch is now imminent.”

G Touring research revealed that awareness of the Page & Moy brand was still high and many thought it was still operating, despite it having been out of the market since former parent company All Leisure Group collapsed in January 2017.

Poon-Tip said a more stable UK market made him optimistic for 2020. “I acquired Travelsphere and Just You in a stressed environment,” he said. “It was six months after the EU referendum. In spite of that, we’ve doubled trade sales in that period, and sales were up 30% in 2019 compared with 2018.”

He added that, in the past three years, the Travelsphere and Just You teams, led by managing director Alastair Campbell, had refreshed the brands, overhauled brochures, introduced guaranteed departures and price matching, and reduced group tour sizes from 50 to a maximum of 35 guests.

And this January, the brands are advertising on TV for the first time in decades. “We’re appearing at peak times – like during Coronation Street – and the metrics are off the charts for enquiries, downloads and brochure requests,” he said.

Market confidence

TV advertising had been planned last January but was pulled. Poon-Tip said: “It was the right decision. There is much more confidence in the UK market now. We now have a direction with Brexit and it’s changed themarket. There is a lot of pent-up demand.

“I don’t believe we have ever hit our full stride because we’ve never had a stable market since I acquired the businesses, which is why we’re excited about 2020.”

Poon-Tip admitted Thomas Cook’s collapse 10 days after the G Touring brands and sister brand G Adventures won a tender to be new partners for Thomas Cook Tours was a blow.

But Campbell said: “We won the tender over existing competitors that were doing five, six, seven times our volume. That was a real recognition of how far we’d come with two brands that three years previously had never had a trade strategy or substantial distribution in the UK.

“It was a real milestone for us and there was a sense of elation – then Thomas Cook went under. We had created a ton of collateral and a video and were just about to staff up, so it was tough to realise that [Cook]wasn’t going to be part of our plans.”

But Campbell said Travelsphere and Just You had a great relationship with Hays Travel, which picked up 553 ex-Thomas Cook stores, and had won preferred supplier status with “a number of independent agents” after three years’ hard graft.

“The trade was maybe 8% or 9% of our business three years ago and it’s now 20% and growing,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to it continuing to grow.”