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Better lates than ever?

A WAR of
words has broken out between MyTravel and TUI UK over the relative merits of
their lates strategies.

TUI UK
managing director Chris Mottershead claimed MyTravel’s decision to sell prime
stock early at “giveaway prices” had given TUI an open goal in the
lates market.

Mottershead
said prices for Thomson holidays sold through Lunn Poly are £100 ahead of rivals
because it has more prime stock, including Saturday departures, than
competitors. He added the summer would be “almost banked” within two
weeks.

But
MyTravel UK and Ireland chief executive Duncan Wilson hit back, saying TUI’s
was a high-risk strategy that left it vulnerable to international events such
as the war and SARS.

“As a
more risk-averse business we want less prime stock in the peak season,” he
said.

Cosmos
commercial director Stuart Jackson said sales across the industry are steadily
improving, with margins up on last year, but the position would be healthier if
Thomson had cut capacity.

“It’s
caused a problem because they have more to sell. Prices are fairly good but
they would be about £10 higher,” he said.

The spat
came after TUI northern Europe chief executive Peter Rothwell told Institute of
Travel and Tourism conference delegates he had “no idea” where
MyTravel’s interim £617 million pre-tax loss had come from.

Wilson
agreed the losses were not representative of the industry and blamed the Iraq
war and the group’s financial uncertainty, which he claimed helped boost
rivals’ sales. “Our performance was terrible,” he said.

 

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