Virgin Holidays has defended its online discounting, claiming agents should look at pounds not percentages when selling a holiday.
At the Elite Travel Group conference on Saturday, sales and distribution director Chris Roe was met with anger from agents who didn’t see why the operator needed to discount the product. He said: “We offer typically 5% discount on the web, it is our cheapest method of distribution. If you have to price match that you have still got some money in there, you still have good commission.”
Chris Turner, director of Kitts Travel said: “What doesn’t bring loyalty is discounting. Do you think the these travel agents have survived this long by discounting?”
Kristina Hulme, owner, Travel By Design said: “Why do you discount such a fantastic product? We don’t like the word discount, we don’t get it.”
Roe defended Virgin Holidays saying there aren’t always discounts online and even when there are, its own retail outlets which don’t offer the same discount, still maintain sales figures. He added that Virgin Holidays also had to compete with websites such as Expedia.
Roe said that Virgin Holidays planned to have between 100 and 105 retail outlets by next March. He said that a key reason for the project was to bring the brand on to the high street and it had so far proved effective, with sales for the whole area improving when an outlet is opened.
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