Advantage's Gateway to shed light on sales performance

Advantage's Gateway to shed light on sales performance

Advantage is poised to use booking data collected through its Gateway selling system to improve commercial deals with suppliers.

The consortium says it is the first time there has been “robust industry data” on sales of specialist operators through the trade, as most current booking statistics focus on mainstream, package holiday sales.

The Gateway system is used by 360 out of 700 Advantage leisure branches and has 60 of Advantage’s 150 preferred suppliers on board.

Advantage leisure director Julia Lo Bue-Said said the information now in the system would allow the consortium to analyse members’ sales and record the best-selling operators, destinations and properties.

“The only way I had of knowing this information before was by talking to individual operators,” she said.

The consortium plans to hold talks with suppliers once it has reviewed the data. Lo Bue-Said said: “We will start liaising with our suppliers on where the volumes are coming through and talk about what we can do to improve conversions.

“This data will allow us to have discussions about how we can improve contract rates.”

It will also help pinpoint poor sales and discuss tactics to improve bookings, she said. “It’s about how we can improve efficiency and conversion rates,” said Lo Bue-Said.

Advantage chief executive John McEwan said: “We will be able to provide the industry with robust data. This is something nobody in the industry has.”

The consortium reports sales of specialist cruises and long-haul holidays have enjoyed double-digit growth through Advantage members so far this year.

Specialist cruise sales were 25% up in the first quarter on the same period last year, when members’ sales of mass market cruises were 5% down.

Advantage commercial head John Sullivan said: “My gut feeling is mainstream cruising is family orientated and that market is suffering.”

Sullivan reported long-haul sales up 15% year on year in the first quarter, despite Advantage leisure members trading 6% down for summer 2012 in a market that is currently 8% down. 

He told the Advantage annual conference in Malta: “It is encouraging we are slightly ahead.”

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