Trade bed bank youhotels.com is to cut the number of hotels its offers agents by almost a third as it seeks to increase the quality of its offering.
Matt Cheevers, managing director of youhotels.com that was previously known as youtravel.co.uk, said the move represented a return to a more traditional form of trade supplier, travel agent retail partnership.
He said in difficult market conditions the firm has had to reassess all its does and decided it needed to concentrate on what it does best rather than trying to be everything to everyone.
“We are going back to the core values of what John Kent (founder of youhotels.com) set up in the past in which we are a middle mad and in that situation you are only as good as your last deal.
“We are going to go back to trading on a daily basis and understanding our partners better and matching our product to that. At times in the past we have forgotten our role in the whole scheme of things.
“We over-complicated our product and the way we dealt with people and the pace with which we ran our organisation. When technology gets involved there’s a tendancy to think once the technology is done that’s the end of it.”
As part of recent management changes Kent has taken more day-to-day control from his base in Athens while Cheevers has taken overall control of both the youhotels.com trade and youtravel.com consumer brands from new offices in central London.
Youtravel.com was the original name of the bed bank, but in January the decision was made to create a new trade-only persona.
Cheever said youhotels.com wanted to put more focus on its ‘castle’ properties where it was able, through its relations, to offer exclusivity, if not in terms of product but the deals it can provide.
The property portfolio will be decreased by 30% this winter and 32% for summer 2012, based on a combination of sales performance, agent and consumer feedback and health and safety records.
Cheevers added: “This isn’t just about cutting out hotels that don’t sell, this is about cutting properties from our programme which consistently receive negative reviews and those which don’t offer good value for money.”
Youhotel.com’s commitment to making life easier for agents is being supported by a new sales team that will be out on the road conducting more face to face meetings, Cheevers said.
“We believe in a tough market you need to understand a lot better what is making travel agents’ revenue, it’s only then you can go out and get them the product that meets their requirements.”
In addition to cutting the volume of properties on its books youhotels.com will also add the amount of long-haul product in its portfolio with expansion into United Arab Emirates and an increased Florida programme.
From today properties in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as Ras Al Khaimah and Fujeirah are on sale. In Florida, new properties are available in the Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
Cheevers said: “Launching a collection of properties in the UAE has been in the pipeline for a while and we’re pleased to go live today. We’ve taken time to ensure we were able to offer the product that customers want, at rates agents want.
“We’ve also chosen to include a selection of hotels from lesser known Emirates, ideal for people who have already travelled to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and are looking to explore slightly further afield.
“We’re really pleased to have expanded our Florida portfollio and have secured properties in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, as well as Orlando.
“Again we wanted to make sure our product mix was right and we’re pleased to be able to offer a mix from boutique hotels, to larger chain properties and self-catering apartments and villas/holiday homes.”
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