TUI’S Specialist Holidays Group is to launch a
direct-sell short-breaks brand in a bid to react to the increasing number of
late bookers.

Impulse Holidays was originally used by SHG’s
Specialist Sun division to sell seat-only and last-minute villa holidays. It
will now be used as a direct-sell budget brand, with the sole aim of shifting
late city breaks and taking a slice of the market enjoyed by on-line giants
Lastminute.com and Expedia.

SHG managing director David Rowe denied the move would
anger the trade and claimed any deals sold direct through Impulse Holidays
would also be given to agents.

“I don’t see this as a threat to the trade in any
way,” he said. “Our Crystal and Thomson brands are outstanding. To put another
brand out for the trade would dilute the message.”

Rowe said the brand could be extended to other
products if it was deemed a success.

“We have no real plans to stretch Impulse to winter
sports, but clearly where we have a surplus of seats to sell, we will use it.
But all those deals will also be available to the trade.”