Virgin Holidays to expand high street outlets

Virgin Holidays is to expand its network of shops within branches of Tesco, House of Fraser and Debenhams.

The operator has been recruiting retail sales managers and retail sales consultants in nine areas, including Cambridge, Birmingham and Chelmsford, to work in the outlets.

Virgin said the 30 stores, the first of which opened in 2008, were designed to raise awareness of the brand.

Sales and distribution director Chris Roe said the outlets were in areas where the Virgin distribution network was not as strong. He said: “They are not designed to dilute or steal business away from agents.”

Roe said Virgin Holidays’ trade business had improved since scaling back his “waivers and favours” agency sales team.

“We cut back from eight account managers to one, started focusing on just three quarters of our accounts and dropped commission for about 4,000 agents,” he said.

“Once we got rid of most of our reps who were forever waiving booking amendment fees and giving away free upgrades to the trade, we were much more successful.”

Roe confirmed that Sarah Williams returned from maternity this week leave to join Mark Burns in agency sales.

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