DYNAMIC packaging companies are making huge inroads into the Caribbean, as more agents put together their own packages.
Accommodation provider Hotels4U.com – previously Trust Accommodation – is expanding its Caribbean product to include new hotels in eight destinations this winter, including Barbados, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
Meanwhile, Freedom Flights will be flying from Gatwick to Antigua, St Kitts, Tobago and Grenada this winter.
Freedom Flights sales and marketing director Phil Norris said: “We’re hoping agents will see the opportunities for long-haul dynamic packaging.
“Dynamic bookings have fuelled the growth for us in the past couple of years. The Caribbean is a new market for us and a lot of the people do like the security of a package if it is a booking such as a wedding.
“But there’s a expanding market for dynamic packaging if agents can offer good value flights and can book a hotel direct.”
Resort Marketing put its hotels inventory – including brands such as Elite Island Resorts and Occidental Hotels – on dynamic packaging sites earlier this year.
Resort Marketing managing director Colin Peglar said: “We’ve started to see a growth in sales from dynamic packaging, companies such as Global Travel and Lowcostbeds.com are starting to make inroads. However, volume is still relatively modest.”
Lowcostbeds.com is adding accommodation in the Bahamas, Grand Cayman and St Kitts to its programme for this winter, having recently added Tobago, the Grenadines and Grenada.
Hotels4U.com claims to have seen a 65% increase in dynamic packaging activity to long-haul destinations in the past three months – the Caribbean being one of the key destinations, and a reason for its product expansion.
Sales development manager Simon Barnes said: “Agents are aware that they can sell for less and make more through dynamic packaging.
“They have enough trust in the way it works to apply the principles to long-haul destinations.”
Example 1: one week’s all-inclusive holiday for two people to Tobago in November, staying at the Turtle Beach by Rex Resorts.
Flights from Freedom Flights – £329 per person. Accommodation and transfers from Hotels4U.com – £315 per person.
Thomas Cook Signature offers seven nights from £919 per person, room-only, including flights and transfers. All-inclusive option is from £29 per adult, per night.
Example two: one week at the four-star Hotel St Lucian by Rex Resorts on St Lucia for a family of four (two adults and two children) in March.
Lowcostbeds.com offers seven nights’ room-only for a family sharing one room from £738. Upgrading to all-inclusive will cost £1,365 for the same room and nights.
Virgin Atlantic has return adult fares from Gatwick to St Lucia Hewanorra International Airport leading in at £536 per person, including taxes in March. Child fares lead in at £429.
Return transfers with HolidayTaxis.com cost £141 net.
Virgin Holidays’ brochure price for seven nights is from £1,159 per adult, twin-share. Children cost £499. Accommodation is on an all-inclusive basis. The price includes flights and transfers.
Lowcostbeds.com commercial director Simon O’Flynn offers his tips to agents dynamic packaging the Caribbean:
It doesn’t have to be a daunting process, but make sure you are methodical.
It’s very important to act on your customers’ specific requests because there is so much choice available. If you don’t pick up on something, you could miss out on a good revenue opportunity.
3. Make savings, but do not pass them all on
Use the opportunity increase the total amount spent and earn more. The whole point of dynamic packaging is agents have more control on the pricing and margin.
4. Exploit trends
This winter there will be a big increase in flights to the Caribbean. Take advantage of keen prices.
Get to know a handful of websites well. Take time to explore the web so you are more efficient when actually booking.
Related links –Elite Island Resorts online training from Travel Weekly Academies