FIRST CHOICE chief executive Peter Long has criticised
major operators for “under-selling” products and getting the balance of supply
in the market wrong.

At the third ABTA business lunch, Long said operators
should have more confidence in their product to improve margins.

“If I’m critical of what we’ve done as an industry,
it’s under-selling,” he said.

“You don’t need to sell a package for £50 less – get
the price the customer is willing to pay. There are huge opportunities in yield
management to improve margins.”

This means not selling too much quality stock cheaply
early on, according to Long, who said First Choice holiday margins were 3.5%
last year. In a clear swipe at MyTravel, Long was critical of operators that
sold off a lot of stock early.

“Putting your hand up and saying we have sold all
these holidays but we have given them away is just ludicrous. We would not do
it. We do not want to throw price promotions at everything. It’s not necessary.”