John Harding

Sales and marketing director, Hotels4u.com

Hotels4u sales and marketing director John HardingThis year will go down in the annals of the travel industry as the year that dynamic packaging was recognised as the way of the future for the independent sector and the vertically integrated operators.

While the independents have a clear focus on their route to market due to the realignment of the major’s distribution policies, the major operators have been unable to expand their traditional markets and have realised the way forward is to recognise the needs of the customer.

The customer is king and the retail travel trade is reacting positively to maintain its place in the distribution network.

To assist in this seismic move there is a range of tools to help agents keep ahead of the game. Customers are voting with their keyboards and driving the trade to demand even better marketing tools from software suppliers.

I’ve never been so optimistic for the travel sector as I am today. The innovation of those who have seen that they must adjust to the demands from the market is truly awe-inspiring and I salute them.

In all this exciting marketing activity agents should not forget that they will probably be changing their business model. They must address regulatory needs to ensure they respect the requirements of the Package Travel Regulations and the CAA, and do not fall foul of the authorities.

I would urge every agent to carry out a thorough audit of their products and procedures, especially relating to Public and Product liability insurance to make sure that their offerings and systems are properly protected.