TV advertising helped drive bookings in 2011 for the Hoseasons Group’s biggest brands during a broadly flat year.
Overall, the group – the largest UK domestic holiday company – has reported a 1.5% increase in bookings in the 2011 calendar year, also its financial year.
Some of its largest brands performed better, however. The Cottages4you brand enjoyed a 4% bookings increase and Hoseasons saw bookings rise by 2.5%. Bookings for lodges and parks within the Hoseasons portfolio were up by 2.2%.
Its direct-sell brand James Villa Holidays also put in a solid performance.
Managing director Geoff Cowley said: “The fact these brands are up means others are slightly down, and this is a reflection of the marketing we have done on TV behind these brands. You can’t go on TV with everything; you have to have a sensible focus.”
Cowley said the UK continued to be a popular and sought-after holiday choice, often in addition to an overseas break, with a continuing trend for value-for-money and later bookings in the current climate.
He added: “There are lots of different price points [for UK breaks] so you can decide whether to eat in or go out and that element of control, allowing customers to decide, is a good one. The ability to jump in the car and be there within a short drive also helps. UK petrol prices have gone up but there is no Air Passenger Duty and you don’t have to get a flight. People are looking for value.”
Cowley said the group’s increased range of differentiated products had helped offer a broader range of choice in terms of product and price. Within its Hoseasons brand, its upmarket Evermore Lodge Holidays brand was launched last year while its existing Autograph and Go Active brands have both been expanded in recent years.
Cowley admitted there was more work to be done to increase awareness in the trade of its Cottages4you brand, which in the past has sold more of its product direct to consumers. One team is now responsible for selling the Hoseasons and Cottages4you brands through the trade.
“We could do more with this product,” he admitted, adding: ”We would also certainly like people to be more aware of our Evermore brand within our Hoseasons portfolio.”
He admitted the amount of choice, of cottages, for example, meant the group had to work closely with the trade to help them decide the best product for their clients. “We need to continue to work with agents to make sure we provide the right tools for them to narrow it down,” he said.
The Hoseasons Group sits within the exchange and rentals division of its US parent, Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, which also owns brands such as Howard Johnson and Wyndham Hotels.
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