Holiday Experts has reported a 40% year-on-year sales increase this year thanks to a new marketing strategy that reduced the homeworking company’s reliance on Teletext.


The company, which was bought by Vertical Group in 2009, has improved sales via its holiday-experts.co.uk website through online advertising campaigns and marketing. The site directs customers to the best homeworker to deal with their query.


Individual homeworkers have also set up their own blog-based microsites, focusing on specialist areas including the Seychelles, Disney and Mauritius. About 65% of sales now come from online customers, 25% from repeat business or recommendations and 10% from Teletext.


Holiday Experts managing director Mike Russell said: “We were very reliant on Teletext when we set up five years ago, but have been moving away from that in the last two years.


“I believe having a specialism is key for the future. The generic agents have got a difficult time ahead of them. Going head-to-head with the big operators is a waste of time.”


The company has boosted its team by 50% over the last year to 30 homeworkers in the UK, France and Spain.However, Russell said he was in no rush to grow it further. “We get about 50 applications a week but it is difficult to find people with the necessary skills. They have to be very driven and market savvy.”


The company is establishing more direct relationships with hotels. “We sell all dynamic packages. If we sell traditional packages, the operators will only undercut us online,” said Russell.


Holidays Experts is also providing bookings fulfilment for fellow Freedom member World Travellers and is looking to provide sales and administration services for other potential partners.


 


More from the Holiday Experts conference


 


Healey: Package break in ‘meltdown’


The traditional package holiday is in “meltdown”, according to Holiday Experts chief executive Peter Healey.


He said: “For the first time, Tui and Thomas Cook have a perfect quantity match for flight seats and accommodation, so there will be fewer seats available.”


Healey said Holiday Experts would be perfectly placed to compete by using no-frills airlines, Bedbank’s stock and Vertical Group’s buying power.


 


New enhanced email system gets personal


Holiday Experts is using an enhanced email system that enables them to send documentation to the customer immediately after booking and personalised ‘welcome home’ emails.


Healey said: “We are working hard to become a paperless operation, which supports the company’s sustainable policy.”


 


Bedbank to offer ski add-ons programme


Bedbank.com, the Vertical Group-owned accommodation provider, is to introduce an excursion and add-on programme for ski.


Manager Catalina Pile said: “We are expanding our number of destinations all the time. We have many new direct contracts and are working with key suppliers around the world.”