Hopefully peaks will be bigger and better than ever, despite the challenging climate, says If Only product and distribution director Gordon McCreadie

It might only be early January, but Christmas is already a distant memory. I’ve broken at least half of my New Year’s resolutions and am planning my first holiday of the year. Hopefully, so are your customers, and this peaks will be bigger and better than ever, despite the challenging climate.


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Rather than following the mantra of ‘out with the old and in with the new’, we’ve decided to keep the best bits from last year, with a few additions this peaks. Our ‘win a fam a day’ incentive is back by popular demand; our sales team is ready and waiting with some sustainable collateral; and we’ve launched our first-ever turn-of-year cruise campaign.

The real question on my mind, however, is how much is too much when you’re planning that all-important peaks campaign, and how can B2B operators best support their agents and stand out in such a heavily saturated market?

Fam-tastic

I’m sure we’ve all been scratching our heads over the past few weeks, trying to find the right balance between attractive agent incentives and extravagant giveaways that don’t actually have much product relevance. I’ve had some horrors in my time, from a garden gnome to a complimentary leg wax.

I’ve always been a big believer in the power of the fam trip, so I’m delighted to say that what we’re offering this year is going to be the best yet. Not only will agents have the chance to win a place on one of six luxury fam trips, they’ll also be heading to some sensational destinations, including some of our first-ever multi-centre educationals.

As a luxury operator, we want our agents to experience the crème de la crème – think bucket-list excursions, premium airlines and VIP experiences. Not a budget airline or dodgy buffet in sight!

All about agents

If it wasn’t for our agents, where would we be? All-singing, all-dancing fam trips will always tick the box, but what else do agents need from operators to facilitate a successful peaks? Our ‘Wish You Were Here?’ peaks campaign is about inspiring customers to choose our luxury resorts and hotels, and prompts them to book with our talented agent partners.

We’ve branded up leave-behind collateral with that ever-popular ‘contact your local travel agent’ call to action, and we’re producing luxury cruise posters to display in store. Rest assured, in spite of all of our exciting changes over the past year, If Only remains 100% trade-focused.

Sustainability

I still get excited when collateral arrives in the office. I’ve had some fabulous desk calendars and notepads in my time – as well as some less impressive garden seeds – and I’m always dreaming up weird and wonderful ideas for peaks.

Abta’s 2020 travel trends report highlighted that sustainability is a major factor in customers’ purchasing decisions and this has filtered through to the industry – eco‑friendly essentials are the in thing. Our business development managers will be heading to stores throughout peaks with branded water bottles, coffee cups and shopping bags, helping you to ditch the single-use plastics. That’s a worthwhile New Year’s resolution!

Read more comments form Gordon McCreadie here

Podcast: If Only’s Andy Freeth and Gordon McCreadie [2019]