EasyJet’s new holidays division aims to reach 97% of ABC1 UK customers at least 19 times each with its advertising campaign.

A revamped easyJet Holidays website went live at midday on Thursday offering 500 directly contracted hotels among a portfolio of 5,000 beach and city destinations.

The operator’s new TV advert will debut this week during popular TV shows like Gogglebox and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here under the strapline ‘The Search Is Over’.

It features a holidaymaker playing a game of hide and seek across multiple destinations and promotes the many different holiday types and styles easyJet is offering.

The ad will be supported by print, online, social and out-of-home marketing in popular Christmas shopping destinations to promote a brand easyJet believes has huge potential.

EasyJet has doubled the size of its Atol from 500,000 to over one million, although this remains temporary while the CAA clarifies operator figures following the Thomas Cook failure in September and is likely to increase.

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Speaking at yesterday’s press launch, Garry Wilson, chief executive of easyJet Holidays, said the budget carrier’s new holidays division will focus on making it easy for customers to book their holiday.

“We are launching Europe’s newest holiday company and we really believe we have an opportunity to do something different.

“We want to make booking holidays easy. Consumers spend on average seven hours booking a holiday. It’s incredibly stressful and fraught.

“Simplicity is something customers have asked for, so we have really focused on curating content. We believe we are pioneers within the industry and we always want to be on the front foot.

easyJet holidays Hotel Alfonso XIII Seville

Hotel Alfonso in Seville be one of the city break hotels on offer

“That’s why we believe we have a great opportunity for holidays. We think we can come in and disrupt holidays in the same way we did 25 years ago for flights.

“It’s important to us when talking to consumers about holidays that it looks like a holiday that’s right for them. We want it to be fresh and modern and speak to that ‘easyJet generation’.

“We think we are really uniquely placed to launch this holidays business with our brand. Our customers tell us they love the experience we provide them. Right across Europe we are getting the best customer satisfaction scores.”

The easyJet Holidays marketing campaign will target the 19.5 million people who currently go on holiday on an easyJet flight but book their accommodation or package elsewhere.

Wilson said feedback from customers found they are looking for three key aspects: flexibility, ease of booking and technology, and the right choice of hotels.

Properties are organised into five distinct categories: Adult-only, Family, Luxury, Boutique and Undiscovered based on features of the hotels.

Wilson said he did not think the brand would suffer from a “snob factor” with people not wanting to be taking an easyJet Holiday.

“If you look at the website it does not look cheap, it’s not a cheap no-frills website. What we are really focused on is quality but doing that at great value. It won’t feel like you are going on a budget holiday because that’s not the message we are going out with,” he said.

easyJet holidays Sandalia Boutique Sardinia

Sandalia Boutique Hotel, Sardinia is one of the 500 hotels easyJet has contracted

EasyJet has written descriptions for all 5,000 hotels in the portfolio and curated 70,000 images and says results will be delivered at speed and easy filtering options.

It is also offering Google Maps-based curated itineraries on its site, initially in five destinations with three in each, although this will scale quickly to 10 destinations and five in each.

Customers are also able to shop using a ‘price graph’ showing prices over an extended period of time to discover when the best value to travel is, as they can do for flights.

The carrier says its extensive flying programme means it can sell holidays at times they want rather than restricted to when operators schedule their departures.

“We cater for a very broad range of 100 million customers. They hate being pigeon-holed into customer types,” Wilson said.

“What they want is a selection of hotels for which they will be able to easily see the facilities, the amenities and the experiences that they can have.

“And they will choose those hotels from their own point of view. They don’t want to be punished if they don’t fit into a particular customer type.

“They have also told us they want clear pricing. One of the challenges today is the sheer amount of supplements that go in.

“If you look at some of the OTAs that many customers have switched to from traditional players to do things themselves, pricing is not clear.

“OTAs have wonderful technology but they are tech platforms and when it comes to inspirational content that’s really left up to the consumer. You are given hundreds of hotel and flight options and it’s the consumer who has to do the work themselves.

“If you can deliver to that customer a range of hotels by really understanding their needs you do not need to deliver hundreds of hotels, you can deliver a range of handpicked hotels that are really meaningful to them.

“A lot of the older legacy travel companies have very old technology that makes searching and booking quite difficult. It also means they are less agile and less able to adapt to a changing market.”

Holidays customers will be offered 23kg of luggage for every booked person and they will be able to log in to the easyJet app and website just as they currently do for flights with the same details.

Wilson said: “We have built the technology across a single digital platform – we do not have systems from many different companies we are trying to stitch together. The consumer, in the end, pays for that.

“The more clunky your technology the more you are going to have to charge because of your overheads. We have built from the bottom up. We will not be passing on additional costs to the consumer.”