Elite Travel Group members get creative in recession

Elite Travel Group members get creative in recession

Members of the Elite Travel Group luxury specialist division Ethos Group have been trying out new ideas to encourage customer loyalty during the economic downturn.

The members have seen a healthier start to the year than expected, but say conversions are much more difficult than usual.

Elite Travel Group commercial manager Julie Franklin said some have turned to "quirky" ideas to help engender loyalty from customers.

Marion Owen Travel director Marion Owen said: "It's important we find new ways to give value to our customers. I arrange many group cruises and would normally give them a bottle of wine.

"However, this time I ­arranged for a 'welcome home' carrier bag containing milk, bread, butter, eggs, tea and coffee. The response I received from this was phenomenal."

Members are also supporting local businesses by teaming up with shops or restaurants to provide incentives. One agency is giving away a voucher for a local restaurant with every booking.

Luxury specialists are seeing a change in booking habits, Franklin added. "The general view is that the buying patterns have changed with the emphasis on booking later and forward bookings are few and far between.

"Most members had a good January and have seen a good start to February, but conversions are hard and every sale has to be earned," she said.


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