The tools, products and opportunities are there for the taking, says Dino Toouli, head of trade sales at The JG Travel Group
It’s been just over six months following the acquisition of Omega Holidays by Just Go Holidays and the newly formed JG Travel Group is starting to find its feet with the trade.
I was delighted to join Omega Holidays back in 2013 as I saw a huge opportunity for the company to sell its product through travel agents. Omega Holidays was formed back in 1979 as a family business specializing in the London Weekend and Theatre break market, as well as featuring many UK based events.
More recently the firm introduced set group departures for its European air holidays and even a charter-based programme to selective destinations with one-off flights from local regional airports. Omega became the largest supplier of UK short breaks to the newspaper reader holidays market and promoted its breaks through a host of provincial newspapers throughout Britain, from Aberdeen to Truro, as well as through the national press.
However, in recent years newspaper circulation has declined but new innovative distribution channels are being introduced to compensate this. You have to move with the times and find new channels that the consumer wishes to engage with. Travel agents are just as important as any newspaper or digital channel, multiple distribution channels are the success to any business.
So, when Just Go! Holidays acquired Omega, it saw the potential of making its products available to the trade. Astonishingly, despite carrying over 70,000 passengers each year, with over 30 branded coaches travelling up and down the UK and a strong consumer reputation, Just Go! hardly sold through travel agents.
Our commercial partners have been magnificent by extending the Omega agreement to cover the Just Go! products. It’s still a people’s business and relationships are far stronger than any comparison or faceless web sites. You still need to have a good product coupled with good customer care as if you fail on these, no matter how strong the relationship, you lose the support!
The opportunity I see with the trade right now is for the Just Go! products, UK & Ireland, European Holidays and the unique & exclusive tie up with the National Trust to bring our exciting new brochure, Inspiring Breaks, which features National Trust properties and gardens across the UK.
The Just Go! Holidays brand offers value for money, easy to take all inclusive group tours and holidays. Unlike our competitors we don’t use interchanges, we pick up from local towns and go straight on to our UK tour. We’re also not restricted to seaside resorts, we feature many inland destinations bringing a bigger choice to our customers.
Omega continues to do what it does well, London weekend and theatre breaks, events & European group departures. It’s a great brand with good quality products as well as an amazing loyal customer base.
Domestic holidays and coach travel in general are not seen as sexy as selling 5-star long-haul holidays or cruise. Yes, I agree you need to sell plenty domestic holidays to equal one long-haul booking, but on the flip side, once a long-haul customer has booked, chances are that’s the only long-haul booking they’re going to book that year.
I’m sure many would still consider booking a two-day trip to see the Terracotta Warriors in Liverpool or going to London to see a show. Don’t neglect these opportunities, because customer will find other ways to book! The tools, the products, the opportunities are all there to be taken.
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