A new tour operator specialising in sports and high-end experiences hopes to achieve rapid growth through a trade-friendly approach.
Alex Catton, former head of sports at ITC’s Spectate brand, launched Vedere Travel this week with a commission level of 12% alongside price parity.
He said: “I’ve been passionate about working with the trade for the past eight years, so Vedere will be extremely trade-friendly.”
Catton, who has forecast a 50/50 split between direct-sell and trade sales, told Travel Weekly he is targeting “rapid growth”, adding: “I want to get a big response from the trade.”
Vedere, which is Atol certified through the Advantage Travel Partnership, has received investment from Travel Seen – the online agency set up in 2021 by former ITC chief executive Jennifer Atkinson.
Catton left Spectate in May this year after eight years with ITC, beginning in 2015 as brand manager at ITC Sports.
Having set up Vedere, the tour operator will offer trips to a range of sports events as well as experiences including music festivals.
Giving an example of the Formula One packages available, Catton said guests will have the chance to meet drivers in the garage before a race and will gain access to the post-race party.
Prices per person will range from a couple of thousand pounds up to £100,000, according to Catton.
“My business model is not mass-market – we’re offering unique experiences,” said Catton, who launched Vedere after attending the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Music events will include Glastonbury Festival, Coachella and Adele’s Las Vegas residency, said Catton, while other packages will include having the best table at a top restaurant.
Vedere’s trade portal will contain unbranded social media posts, Catton said, with an incentive during peaks set to offer Love2shop vouchers worth up to £100 per booking.
Catton added that fam trips are being lined up for the end of 2024, with European F1 trips being the most likely candidates.
“I see sports travel as a great way for the trade to bring in new clients and show you can offer a wider breadth of experiences,” said Catton.
“If you arrange an F1 package for someone, next year you’ll have them on a fly-and-flop.”
Chester-based Catton, who has an office in the Flintshire village of Ewloe, said he wants to set up a homeworking franchise in Vedere’s third year of operation.
The business’s name, the Italian word for ‘to see’, is based on the idea of selling “visually captivating experiences”, Catton said.
In addition to Vedere’s packages, agents will have the option of choosing ticket-only products so they can build packages themselves.