Former Holiday Taxis boss Paul Stanyer has returned to the trade after almost a year’s absence with a new spa holiday venture.


Spa Break Holidays is available on a web platform developed and hosted by The Vertical Group.


The website spabreakholidays.com launches today featuring 24 spa hotels in Spain, the Canaries, Greece, Cyprus, the Caribbean and Mexico.


The business is trading as a branch of the Freedom Travel Group, and is ABTA and ATOL bonded.


Booking will be handled by an existing call centre and home working division, allowing offline sales to be handled from 8am to 10pm daily.


Joining the company as marketing partners are Ian and Kathryn Colligon, directors of leading spa travel agency, Spabreak Direct, which claims to book more than £5 million of spa business a year in the UK.


Stanyer said: “I have been researching the spa market for some time, having recognised a gap in the market for a dedicated spa product.


“I have been working closely with spa venues to feature exclusive offers with hotel and spa combined packages during times when the hotels are experiencing low occupancy levels to come up with some great offers.


“This is a fantastic virtual model of operating where I have contracted hotels and developed a technology platform using the resources of an existing business, the Vertical Group, which has the scope and scale to operate specialist brands in niche sectors.”


He added: “There will be many hotels and destinations to follow in the very near future and working in partnership with Bedbank.com, we are able to make these hotels available to the travel trade on a commissionable basis in the very near future.


“I am also exploring bespoke versions of the site and content for resale to those in the industry who currently sell a high-end product range.”


Ian Colligon said: “The current venue portfolio mainly features spa hotels and health spas within the UK and whilst the company will continue to flourish in the domestic market, there remains a very obvious opportunity to extend our influence and expertise into the promotion of hotels featured across Europe and beyond.


“We have a huge database of spa-going customers and we will be promoting spabreakholidays.com to this receptive and captive audience.”


Vertical Group chief executive Peter Healey added: “Paul is a well-established figure in the industry and we are delighted that he has chosen to work with us on his first new project.


“We strongly believe that working in niche markets holds the key to business development.”