Independent travel agency Travel Designers is to launch a discount brand to attract customers it would otherwise lose to cheaper competitors.


Managing director Nick McKay said the launch of the website luxuryholidayslite.co.uk, due to go live this week, would enable the south London-based agency to maintain its existing client base and avoid turning away customers who are looking for cut-price deals.


He said: “It’s our way of getting back at direct-sell tour operators. We want to keep our existing clients at Travel Designers, but we realise some clients are shopping around and we will cut our commissions [to offer better prices].”


The agency is installing a Voice over Internet Protocol telephone system to allow the agency to answer with the relevant brand name.


Luxury Holiday Lite customers will have tickets scanned and emailed to reduce costs rather than being sent ticket wallets. Invoice confirmations will be sent by second-class post, rather than first class. Travel Designers’ customers receive lounge passes, but these will not be available through the new discount brand.


McKay admitted that if successful, the new brand could become the agency’s main brand, depending on market conditions. “The way it’s going, it could be our main brand,” he said.


The Travel Designers’ website is also undergoing a revamp. The new site will allow certain hotel suppliers to upload their own content.


Meanwhile, the agency has set up four fan club pages on Facebook; a main fan club page for its Travel Designers business and others for Caribbean, Mauritius, and Club Med Ski product.


Since Travel Weekly reported on the launch last week, the number of fan members for the main club has risen to more than 60. The site launched three weeks ago.


Key hotel partners have been given administration rights to load up offers, pictures and videos on the relevant Facebook pages. To encourage interaction with fan members, the agency is posing questions on favourite resorts on the pages.