More than 100 travel agents have registered on lowcostbeds.com’s new dedicated trade website since it launched a fortnight ago.
The bed bank said the site, lowcostbedsagents.com, has also enjoyed an increase in sales of more than 20% in the same period.
Sales director Tim Buckman said the company would normally expect sales to fall off towards the end of the summer.
“We are delighted and we think it is all been driven by the new site because it is infinitely better and the technology is faster than the old site,” said Buckman.
“Majorca is selling very well and there was no fall off after the ETA bombs. Last minute self-catering bookings have also increased.”
The hike in sales and registrations follows a tranch of advertising, while the bed bank has also encouraged agents to come back and visit the site to try it out.
Buckman admitted many of the independent travel agents registering on the site had already been registered on the old site. “Some agents registered with us two years ago and had forgotten they had done so. They have since re-registered – so a lot of it is reactivating accounts,” said Buckman.
He hopes the new site will attract attention from many traditional agents who do not use XML feeds, to get stock from the bed bank, and are more likely to use the site to make bookings. “We are now getting many agents coming to the site for the first time each day,” he added.
Currently, around 65% of business comes via XML feeds.
Buckman said the bed bank was also willing to help agents who wanted to sell dynamic packages and needed advice on the most popular products to sell. “We can tell them what is selling and give them a helping hand,” he said.
Ultimately, Buckman hopes the site can offer a box showing new flight routes and prices, not for agents to book but to use as information so they can match up accommodation to offer dynamically packaged deals.
Buckman admitted the bed bank briefly went off sale with agency Broadway Travel but blamed this on the number of XML feeds the agency had been connected to, causing its systems to slow down. “They switched us off because the system slowed down,” he said.
Meanwhile, sister transfers brand Resorthoppa enjoyed a record month in July with bookings 36% up on July last year. Bookings for next year are already 121% up on 2009 bookings at the same time last year. Buckman said the problems in car hire availability this summer in Europe may have led to an increase in transfer bookings.
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