Silver Travel Advisor is to expand its business model to incorporate a booking service as a full-service travel agent.
The reviews, information and travel advice publisher for the over-50s plans to begin taking bookings this month ahead of the launch of a new-look website in the new year.
The company said the website would act as a “shop window”, with transactions taking place offline via a virtual contact centre.
The expansion of the business is part of a wider rebranding including a ‘Tried. Travelled. Trusted.’ message, and comes 12 months after its acquisition by former dnata tour operations and Silversea Cruises managing director Lisa McAuley.
She said: “We receive a high volume of enquiries from our members asking if they can book their holiday through Silver Travel Advisor, so seeing that demand it felt like a natural next step to take.
“The decision has been driven in part due to our recent re-brand and the launch of our ‘Tried. Travelled. Trusted.’ messaging.
“We’re the experts in over 50s travel and can offer genuine, first-hand advice, so it makes sense to add further value to our members by taking that all the way through to a booking and post-holiday experience.”
Silver Travel Advisor has a range of online and print consumer-facing channels, and says it has an “engaged base” of more than 124,000 members.
McAuley added: “We have an existing relationship with our members and believe the booking element is best served through conversation to ensure we are making the right recommendations and offering a truly personalised service.
“However, we are unique in that if a member wants to book directly with one of our partners, we support that too.”
She said: “Each year our research shows consumers want a choice of booking options. Some choose to book direct, some via a travel agent, (so) we simply want to facilitate choice.”
McAuley confirmed the new-look website would feature established elements including articles, reviews and prize draws, in addition to destination guides and information to inspire holiday choices.
She added: “Thanks to our existing partnerships with leading suppliers across the industry we’ll be in a position to offer worldwide destinations across multiple products including cruise, touring, solo travel and package holidays.”