Neilson says it has no plans to stop working with travel agents despite a decision to only sell its Mountain Collection hotels direct to consumers.
Managing director, David Taylor, said agents remained “highly valued” within the operator’s distribution chain and pledged not to switch other products in its portfolio away from the trade.
He said: “We genuinely have no plans to move the rest of our business direct because we don’t have the ‘product pull’. Agents play a great role for us in finding the right holidays for customers.”
The Mountain Collection consists of seven hotels, 20 chalets and around 75 third-party operated hotels in winter ski resorts.
Only the hotels- which closely resemble its summer Beachclub product and have Neilson staff on site and run the operator’s own kids clubs and activities- will become direct-sell.
Taylor said the company had moved this part of the business direct because it was a similar model to its summer business and would allow the operator to offer a “consistent” Neilson experience to customers, from booking to going on holiday.
The Mountain Collection hotels were already enjoying repeat customer levels of 30%-40%, he said.
He added: “We are seeing a very different business (in the hotels) compared to the rest of our ski programme. It’s more commoditised.”
Around 90% of Neilson’s summer product is sold direct, with agents accounting for the other 10%. “We are growing our summer business and as we grow that, what is available through agents is a bigger volume of holidays.”
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