Wendy Wu Tours is to introduce online bookings for the trade in the coming months as part of a technology overhaul.
Group chief executive Joe Karbo said the move was the first stage of a general revamp of the tour operator’s website and would allow agents to make straightforward bookings of tours and flights.
Online booking will also be opened to consumers and Karbo said prices would be the same.
Karbo is one of a four-strong executive team appointed last summer tasked with doubling the company’s turnover by 2018 in a three-year strategic plan.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, he said: “We are very focused on the agent and the first stage is to enable agents to make bookings online.”
Tailor-made tours and more complex bookings will continue to be taken over the telephone, said Karbo, who stressed there were no plans to ditch brochures.
“I have a strong online background and have come in to add that online element. But brochures are very successful in the UK and brochure requests at a record high,” he added.
“We are very focused on the agent and the first stage is to enable agents to make bookings online.”
Karbo, a former Flight Centre agent and ex-general manager of wholesaler Excite Holidays, said a key priority was to align the group’s global offices by building internal technology platforms to share information and maximise synergies to strengthen the Wendy Wu Tours brand worldwide. The group has offices in London, Sydney, Auckland, New York, Xi’an, Shanghai and Beijing.
“This will lead to a more coordinated marketing approach. UK campaigns can be used in other markets, or vice-versa,” said Karbo.
Karbo added there were still “enormous opportunities for growth in product and service” despite geopolitical issues.
China and Asia would remain the operator’s focus, he said, adding: “We will bring in more variety of product in China and Asia – more short-term stays and day tours. There will be a focus on new, innovative products and options not available before.”
Wendy Wu Tours reported a 44% rise in bookings during a record-breaking January, with visits to its website up 38% year on year.
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