AAAs Q&A: Kelly Walker, easyJet holidays’ head of distribution

Kelly Walker says she can’t wait until the Agent Achievement Awards on July 13 and the chance to celebrate with the trade’s standout performers.

Q. Why have you decided to sponsor this year’s AAAs?
A. We’re absolutely delighted to be a premium sponsor of this year’s AAAs. We launched our trade partnership in 2020, and now have more than 5,000 travel agent partners, who have played a significant role in our growth and success to date. The AAAs is a highlight for agents and for easyJet holidays as we see so many of our partners together in one room. So, for us, it’s a chance to thank them and show our appreciation, as well as recognising and celebrating top sellers and high achievers.

Q. How has 2023 gone so far?
A. It’s been brilliant. We’re currently the UK’s fastest-growing tour operator. We’ve seen record-breaking sales days and an increase of over 200% in our customer growth year on year. We recently increased our targeted growth for this summer from 50% to 60%, and also increased our Atol licence to allow us to take even more customers on holiday. We’ve also got loads of new routes launching this year, making it even easier for holidaymakers to explore Europe’s most-loved destinations.

Q. What are your main product focuses currently?
A. We’re concentrating on meeting customers’ demands, ensuring we’re offering brilliant holidays at unbeatable prices to Europe’s most-loved hotels. Across our portfolio of city breaks and beach holidays, we provide a wide variety of product type, so there’s something for everyone. From family resorts with water parks to adult-only luxury spa resorts, we offer great value across the scale. We’re continuing to build on this portfolio by adding new properties, all available to book through customers’ trusted travel agents, and we’re currently proud to offer more than 5,000 hotels across more than 500 resorts. And we’re launching to some exciting new destinations this year. We’re flying customers to breathtaking Istanbul, where we’re offering city breaks to a range of four-star and five-star hotels across the New City and Old City. And this autumn, we’re launching to Akureyri in northern Iceland.

Q. What are you doing to support your travel agent partners?
A. Over the past year, we’ve doubled the size of our trade support team to provide enhanced support and improve engagement. We also launched our brand-new trade portal in 2022 to create a more intuitive, user-friendly experience for travel agents to sell our holidays. We’re currently ‘Team Orange On Tour’! Our in-person training events are happening across the country. And we have hosted regular online training webinar presentations for more than 1,200 agents. We’ve also hosted nine fam trips over the past 12 months, so our travel agent partners can experience our product.

Q. What are your best memories of the AAAs?
A. It’s hard to pick! Every year, it’s such a great event. I’d have to say the most special memories are seeing the looks on agents’ faces when they’re announced as winners. It’s such an achievement, and it means so much, so it’s really touching to see their reactions. I can’t wait for this year’s event.

Q. What would your advice be for someone attending for the first time?
A. Speak to as many people as possible. The AAAs are a fantastic opportunity to grow your network and meet new people. Also make sure you speak to your key suppliers, and let them know you’ve booked lots of their customers! And, of course, my biggest piece of advice is to enjoy the evening – it’s so much fun.

Q. What song will you be hoping to hear at the after-party?
A. I’m really keen to get all our agents singing along to Friday [by Riton x Nightcrawlers] – with the lyrics swapped out for some easyJet holidays lines! We’ll see who I can manage to persuade.


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