Kuoni managing director Nick Hughes has said the operator’s sale was launched with the intention of increasing its share of the long-haul market.
He said the sale, which launched at the end of last month to coincide with the peaks period, was the biggest the operator has held in 100 years.
Travel agents had been critical of Kuoni’s 5% online discount for direct bookings of non-sale product, saying it was detrimental to their business.
Hughes said travel agents, who account for just over half of the operator’s sales, will not suffer from differential pricing in the Kuoni sale, which has seen discounts of up to 30% accessible through all distribution channels.
Hughes said the sale has brought year-on-year double-digit growth in January and he is confident it is having the desired effect in a market he believes is about 20% down.
He said: “We wanted to get market share from other players and we are now up year on year. Maybe our rivals are keeping pace with us [in terms of sales], although we are probably winning more market share.”
He added the discounts have been achieved through negotiations and reductions coming from suppliers, rather than the operator having to cut into its own margins.
He said: “We went to our top suppliers, took them aside and told them what was happening in Europe and what we were doing about it.”
Hughes said Kuoni is seeing late bookings becoming more prevalent as consumers become more wary of the global economy.
He added: “British consumers are being really stretched, they are nervous and are holding back. They’re not going to part with their money [easily].”
- Kuoni scooped three prizes at the Globe Travel Awards 2009 – see the full list of winners here
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