A renewed focus on expanding regional flying by carriers such as Emirates is a key factor in the growth trade-only supplier Travel 2 is seeing.
Gordon McCreadie, sales marketing and commercial director of the sister company of consortium the Global Travel Group, told the group’s annual conference it was well placed to exploit the trend.
“Aviation is the cornerstone of what we do. One of the key things for us as a business is regional reach. A lot of our success is linked to what airlines are doing.
“Scheduled air is massive for us and airlines are seeing the benefits of expanding their routes regionally.”
Travel 2 saw sale volumes in January up 29% year on year, 17% in February and 15% so far in March, with cruise and long-haul tailor-made driving much of that growth.
Cruise is up 64%, Travel 2 having gone from zero two years ago to £12 million worth of annual sales today. It has agreed a joint venture with MSC Cruises to package regional departures.
McCreadie said the operator will continue to improve on the service it offers agents through the feedback it gets from its agent panels.
One key project coming up is to improve the quality of the documentation it produces for holiday sales.
“That’s a major project to improve that,” he told delegates. He said cruise and luxury sector documentation had been improved but for general holidays it needed to be fit for purpose.
“A lot of it is to do with the legacy reservations systems we have in place. A lot of times they are a few years old and need to be improved.”
McCreadie added: “We will continue to improve the website. Agents want to do the simple stuff online and that frees up our call centre to do the difficult stuff more quickly.”
The average selling price Travel 2 is achieving is £2,500 per passenger, said McCreadie, who added Travel 2’s intention is to make the brand “sticky”.
“We want to make the business a one stop travel shop. Why would you need to go elsewhere when we can provide all that you want?”
McCreadie set out his recipe for success for travel agents: “It’s about listening to your customers, it’s knowing your customers.
“Go into your communities to find out what your customers need. That’s one thing we could learn from homeworker agencies whose agents become an integral person in their communities.”
He added: “Expect change and plan for it. Align teams and reward success. Set achievable goals and track them. Have a business plan and understand what it is you need to do.”