Stena Line is hoping to cash in on growing demand for greener holidays with the return of its own short breaks programmes to Ireland.
The ferry operator’s sales manager UK and Ireland Dermot Cairns said holidaymakers wanting to limit their carbon emissions are increasingly choosing to travel by ferry, which also offers them the convenience of taking their cars abroad.
He added self-drive breaks in Ireland have become increasingly popular and saw a 10% growth in overall sales last year, although some agents have been slow to capitalise on the growing popularity of the sector despite commission of 10% available.
He said: “Some of our independent agent partners are doing extremely well from this but some of the others aren’t.”
The packages are being reintroduced after a gap of three years and are being backed by joint marketing budgets, future educationals and 10% commission.
Stena Line is marketing the packages to families and even dog lovers who want to take their pets with them because of the convenience of being able to take their own cars on holiday.
Cairns said the operator is hoping to attract as many as 7,000 bookings for the programme in the first year alone, adding: “It is good quality product at a good price.”
Brittany Ferries marketing and distribution manager Richard Price said he was unsurprised to see Stena launch the programme having seen the operator’s own sales of packages grow by 15% year on year since January.
He added: “There seems to be more and more hassles involved in taking a family away on holiday when an airplane’s involved and people just want to drive their cars on the ferry, sit back and relax. We have benefited from this and I’m sure it is the same for Stena.”
It is being supported with nationwide merchandising and training of the company’s top 500 agents following a 21% increase in sales in the first two months of 2007.
Stena Line is offering one night city stays in Belfast from £125 per person and there are also golf packages and family-friendly trips available.