Hermis beefs up Delta’s US leisure programme

THE Hermis Travel group, operator of Delta Airlines’ US leisure programme in the UK, has revamped its brochure for 2000 after a seven-year relationship with the carrier.

With all flights in the programme based on Delta services, the two parties decided on a product rethink in the face of increasing competition in the US. The result is a redesigned Delta Vacations America brochure – 25% larger at 150 pages – which features new destinations, tours and hotels.

There are also new ground transport options and, for the first-time, a two-centre programme.

Called Twins, the 60-page brochure combines the operator’s top-selling areas of Florida, New York, Las Vegas and California with resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii, again based exclusively on Delta flights.

Hermis, which has offices in London and Manchester, created a new business management structure this year to develop both the Delta link and find new areas of revenue for the group.

Hermis Travel already has a strong seat-consolidation business, which uses carriers such as British Airways and Continental in addition to Delta, and will launch an accommodation-only programme soon. It has also launched into the Far East market with a Colours of Asia programme. Chris Bailey, formerly with Sun Cruises in Singapore and, prior to that, head of Tradewinds, fronts the new team as commercial director.

He said: “Although we have a strong relationship with Delta, it was becoming a little restrictive in terms of development. Capacity wise we were very much dictated to by the airline,” he said.

“What we have in the new product range next year is a combination of both of our requirements for developing leisure sales. The Twins brochure, which uses Delta’s network of routes more efficiently, is a direct result of this.”

Six months ago, Bailey was joined in the London office by head of marketing and product Karl Thompson, previously with Unijet, and Mark Hansford, previously with Holiday Options, as head of sales and business development.

Hansford has already started appointing managers as part of a new business development unit to increase Hermis’ market share.

Bailey said: “The main Delta Vacations brochure is quite a radical change for us – even down to the front cover. We compared ourselves with the competition on the racks and have created a coffee table-style brochure that bears no relationship to the Delta Dream Vacations programme for the US domestic market.

“We have tried to include something for everybody, which is always difficult. We’ve increased our presence in major resort and tourist areas where we’ve seen strong growth over the past few years,” he added.

The Twins brochure fits in well with Delta Vacation’s flexible tailor-made approach to the market. The lead-in is £698 for a week in Orlando combined with seven nights in the Bahamas but the operator can offer any duration in the mix-and-match programme because of Delta’s high-frequency route network.

Bailey said: “Most charter operators offer seven-night combinations with the same level of accommodation.”

He added: “With the Twins brochure, if clients are spending most of their time in the theme parks, they can opt for a three-star hotel in Orlando and then splash out on a more expensive all-inclusive Caribbean resort for the second week.”

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