The Travel Network Group revealed at its conference that its members’ revenue during the peak selling season this year was up by 4.8% year-on-year.

Vim Vithaldas, newly promoted to the role of chief commercial officer, told delegates in Budapest that long-haul revenue was up 16% – with passenger numbers up by just over 1% – and cruise revenue rose 47%.

Ancillaries revenue rose 8.6%, with passenger numbers up by more than 10%; bed bank revenue increased by almost 16%; and touring revenue was up by 29%.

However, Europe and short-haul sales were down by 13.6% in terms of revenue, and 11% in terms of passenger numbers.

UK breaks were also down by 12.5% in terms of revenue, and almost 9% fewer passengers.

He said lots of factors were having an impact on the market and year-on-year comparisons, including the Beast from the East snowfall and World Cup in 2018.

The current market is being affected by “unhelpful headlines” in the mainstream press about Brexit’s possible impact on travel and the continuation of economic uncertainty.

“However, holiday expenditure remains essential for British consumers,” Vithaldas said.

“People still want to go on their holidays.”

The figures also showed the top selling destinations in each sector during the peaks selling season.

For long-haul and touring, it was the US; for cruising it was the Caribbean; and for mainstream it was Spain and Turkey.

Vithaldas outlined the new structure of his department, with trading manager Natalie Holder and head of commercial Katharina Peck reporting to him. Their commercial team comprises commercial manager Fiona Pearcy, and two recent recruits: commercial analyst Faisal Fazeli and commercial manager Jennifer Giddins.

Vithaldas told members that they will be receiving weekly market reports to help them understand key trends and top destinations.

“Use the insights to see how are you performing against the market,” he advised agents.

The consortium will also host ‘how to’ events around the UK, with a panel of experts helping members to sell different products, such as UK breaks, ancillaries, touring, luxury, and peak season sales.

The first ‘how to’ event will be on April 30 in Birmingham.

Furthermore, Vithaldas revealed a new ‘Search & Find’ to help agents discover the right product when consumers are making inquiries – and pledged more support for agents in 2019 with exclusive offers, incentives, fam trips and enhanced commission.

“We can provide you with hard facts and data so you’re not missing out on any sector of the market,” he told members.

“We can save you time in front of your customer and get more commission in your pockets.”