Holidaysplease aims to double the number of hotels offered by its own online dynamic packaging tour operation in the next few months as its core business reports strong growth.
The homeworking company currently contracts “a few hundred” mainly luxury and long-haul properties, which can be booked by consumers direct via the Holidaysplease website or by its own agents as a standalone product or part of a package.
It now plans to add bed banks, and hopes to have 500-600 hotels available to book online by the end of this year.
Speaking at the Holidaysplease annual conference in Warwickshire, directors Charles Duncombe and Richard Dixon stressed that the expansion of its in-house operator’s product range was in line with overall growth and would not impact business through third-party suppliers.
Duncombe said: “We use our tour operation to fill product gaps, if homeworkers can’t get the price for the customer from our tour operator partners, for example. It’s a small part of our business and doesn’t impact our partnerships with operators.
“We are not trying to reduce the sales we do with our operator partners. We really value our partners.”
Sales of the online tour operation, which has been running since 2008, have averaged around 300 bookings a year and an average sale is about £4,000.
Dixon said further growth in the group’s own online sales would also not have a negative impact on its homeworkers.
He added: “Our online business is going to grow but it will not be to the detriment of our homeworker business. It’s not about changing the way we do business; it’s about supplementing it.
“Consumers can also book our tour operator product through live chat with our homeworkers.”
During the conference, guest speaker Dame Kelly Holmes urged Holidaysplease homeworkers to talk with others if they suffer mental health problems.
The double Olympic gold medallist, who won gold in the 800 metres and 1500 metres races in Athens in 2004, suffered with depression at the height of her success, unknown to the outside world.
She said: “I still suffer with mental health problems, I have just learnt to deal with it. The moment we share and talk about this we will be a happier nation because someone can give you help and support.”
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