Mark Warner is "actively looking" to expand capacity in Europe for 2014 as it announces a new resort in Greece for next year.
The four-star Lemnos Beach Resort, due to open in May 2013, will initially replace capacity lost by the closure and refurbishment of the San Agostino Beach Resort from next year until 2014 or 2015.
Managing director David Hopkins said the new resort formed part of a strategy to focus on higher quality resorts and that if the “right property comes along” the company would be keen to consider it. Destinations it is looking to expand into include Cyprus, Italy and the Balearics.
Hopkins said: "If the right opportunity arose, we would definitely look at it and we are actively looking for summer 2014. We are being more specific than ever about getting the right property.
“What we are finding is that our guests want a certain standard of accommodation. We are looking at a broader spectrum of destinations and it’s making sure the product fits the brand.”
With the new resort in Lemnos, the operator will have three resorts in Greece in addition to its four other resorts spread across Turkey, Sardinia, Corsica and Portugal.
“We have been delighted with sales to Greece, despite the political situation. If the political landscape changes we will have to deal with that,” said Hopkins.
The beach-front Lemnos Beach Resort, which has recently undergone a £2 million refurbishment, has two restaurants and one pool. "We have a 40% repeat visitor rate and we always get a jump in bookings the first year we open a new resort. Lemnos is a very authentic, and less touristy destination," he added.
The operator has already repositioned its brand based on a 'quality' offering and will be chartering a weekly 168-seater British Airways flight to Lemnos, which will have capacity for 250 people in peak season. "We are not chasing down prices. We are not trying to compete with mainstream operators," he added.
The operator is taking over 85% of the rooms and will add its own tennis, swimming and watersports equipment plus a beauty salon and childcare facilities.The resort will offer accommodation on a full-board with wine basis, rather than on a fully all-inclusive basis.
Following a focus on the trade, Hopkins said agent sales had increased from 16% of business last year to 20% this year. It is currently developing an agent web portal to allow online bookings for the first time via the trade.
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