Pictured: Nick Wrightman
The Discerning Collection has bought failed Turkey specialist Elixir Holidays from its administrators.
The Turkey specialist operator has taken on Elixir’s 309 forward bookings, some assets, its database, intellectual property rights, trading and domain names.
The deal does not cover the operator’s staff, five of which were based in London, who lost their jobs following Elixir’s failure on February 17. Simon Parker of insolvency firm Antony Batty & Company was appointed as administrator.
The Discerning Collection founder and managing director Nick Wrightman said he had been in talks with administrators and the Civil Aviation Authority since the operator’s failure.
Wrightman, former owner of Tapestry Holidays, said: “I saw this is as an opportunity to grow our business and as way to get new clients as well as reprotect and rebook their customers. Elixir had a similar product and client base and similar service levels.”
Currently around 40% to 50% of the company’s forward customers have been contacted. Wrightman said most have rebooked but some were choosing to wait for their refund from the CAA, while some were dealing directly with their hotel.
The Discerning Collection, which operates its own trust fund and gets 80% of its sales from repeat customers, is only asking customers for the flight-only payment at this stage with the rest of the payment due four to eight weeks before departure.
Wrightman said he had already secured contracts with the hoteliers Elixir worked with. He does not plan to use the Elixir trading name.
Around 10% of The Discerning Collection’s business comes from travel agents. This is expected to remain at the same level following the buy-out of Elixir, which enjoyed a similar level of trade business.
“I welcome business from the trade. Good agents are worth their weight in gold,” he added.
Wrightman believes Elixir’s demise was not related to difficulties in selling Turkey holidays, adding: “If I can cope, then other companies should be able to.”
A commercial dispute between Elixir’s directors has been cited as a reason for its demise.