Comment: Kuoni move is an exciting step forward

Comment: Kuoni move is an exciting step forward

By Victoria Sanders, managing director of Teletext Holidays

News about Kuoni’s recent tie-up with John Lewis struck me as perfect positioning and an exciting step forward in travel retailing.

If there’s one brand that’s really stood out during the last few years of economic turmoil, it’s John Lewis.

Rarely has it been away from the headlines. Its shared ownership model has been held up as an example other businesses should follow. Staff are said to be more motivated and less likely to leave because, as partners, they have a share in its success. And I’m inclined to agree.

John Lewis has worked hard to create everyday pricing with its ‘essentials’ range in Waitrose and to show that it fares well against the likes of Asda and Tesco.

Yet alongside that comes a commitment to first-rate service, quality and positive supplier relations. It’s a classic example showing that to build trust with customers a business needs more than a cheap lead-in price.

At the price-sensitive end of the market, good service and a commitment to clear pricing has never mattered more.One of the biggest bugbears people have with holiday pricing is that what they see is not what they get.

We’ve been doing our own research into holiday pricing recently with interesting results. We tracked the same holiday – the same dates, hotel and duration – across seven online holiday firms. The price varied by more than £90 in some cases.

As we all know there are so many variations on a holiday, so I’m not surprised pricing is confusing for customers.

Whether it’s a trolley of groceries, a new car or a holiday, it’s human nature to be drawn to the lowest price. But it frustrates me when unclear or misleading pricing drags our industry down.

When the economy is still front-page news and customers continue to watch their purse strings, the obsession with low holiday prices is bound to continue. But we all have responsibility to consumers to present clear pricing; perhaps we need to consider an ‘essentials’ range of our own.

We do everything we can to stop anyone advertising non-existent prices and that’s an important part of our trusted brand status. I want to make more of a virtue of our compliance department and our advertising policy that anyone who works with us must adhere to.

Anyone who takes a leaf out of John Lewis’s book and makes clear pricing on quality products part of their sales drive will be a winner in my eyes.


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