The boss of Jet2holidays has taken a swipe at rival tour operators for withholding monies owed to their hotel partners overseas, saying such a practice “is not right”.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, chief executive Steve Heapy said: “We know that there are some tour operators that don’t pay their hotel partners or will pay them some time towards the middle of next year and I don’t think that’s right.

“It may seem a novel idea to some people, but we’ve been paying our hotel partners everything they’re owed. We refund our customers money because it’s their money and we pay our hotel partners because we have contracts in place with stipulated payment terms, and we stick to the contracted payment terms and pay our hotel partners.

“So it’s basically treating our partners with respect. I can only speak for what we do. Other people may not be doing that, but our hotel partners have businesses to run, they need paying and we’re doing that.”

Heapy said Jet2holidays’ approach was paying dividends as it was getting approaches from hotel partners looking to move away from exclusive deals with just one operator.

“Many hotels have approached us that previously have been in exclusive relationships, but they want a new partner that will work with them on a win-win basis. We’ve been going through our hotel portfolio, making sure it’s the right one for our programme. So we’re very excited about our hotel portfolio for summer 21 and I think our customers will see that also. We’re pretty confident,” he said.

“Some hotels are tied into exclusive deals but these contracts don’t run forever and some hotel partners have found themselves not being tied into exclusive arrangements anymore and they can go to the open market.”

Heapy predicted this would become increasingly widespread.

“I think it may become a trend [that hoteliers move away from exclusive deals] because if you have an exclusive arrangement with a tour operator in your hotel, you basically have one customer; one tour operator, and it’s not a very strong business model to have one customer, you need to have a diversified portfolio.

“Why would you just have one tour operator customer when you can have lots of tour operator customers? If you’re not tied into one, it’s a stronger business model and I think hotels are realising that the more customers they have, the broader customer base they have, and the stronger their business model.”