Abta 2012: Hoseasons expects support for large-group properties

Abta 2012: Hoseasons expects support for large-group properties

Read all our other Abta Travel Convention 2012 coverage here

Domestic self-catering specialist Hoseasons expects agents to offer significant support for a new range of properties aimed at larger groups after seeing double digit growth for its branded products.

The operator unveiled Daisy Door at this week’s Abta Travel Convention, an exclusive collection of cottages aimed at families, groups and couples in four locations: Looe in Cornwall, Ayrshire in Scotland, Harrogate in Yorkshire and Colwell Bay on the Isle of Wight.

The new ‘Cottage-Style Collection’ promises certain standards of product including hot tubs, flat screen TVs an outdoor play area and free wi-fi.

Hoseasons said that while overall business through the trade was flat this year, sales of its luxury Autograph, family-oriented Evermore and activities-focused Go Active Breaks brands were seeing double-digit growth and that agents would similarly embrace Daisy Door.

Zena Calderbank, head of sales, said agents were proactively promoting these branded holiday options by putting their own spin on them, for instance marketing Go Active as “Boredom Busters” or “Hot Tub Breaks” for the more upmarket Autograph range.

“We do not go out direct and market it in that way. One of the multiples [Thomas Cook] is selling UK as part of its ancillary packages. That multiple this year is seeing double-digit growth on domestic bookings.”

Pali Badwal, Hoseaons managing director, said there was a mixed picture in the trade with some groups doing well and others not so well, but many were planning a greater focus on the UK in 2013.

He revealed that this year the operator saw a marked increase in late sales with bookings taken within the crucial six week summer holiday period up 24%.

This lates period saw 245,000 people book plate trips, up 9% on 2011 and 15% on 2010 and is a trend Hoseasons expects to continue.

“We have doubled the amount of late business since 2009. People are leaving it late. We used to think we worked hard and it was manic in that six weeks but it just gets busier.

“It’s all about being more agile in our tactical marketing and having the right price in the market at the right time,” he said.

This year Hoseasons tried to make a virtue of the wet summer in the UK by adapting its marketing message to embrace the conditions saying “Get Wet With Hoseaons” reflecting its range of properties with hot tubs and pools.

The operator says it saw sales of product with indoor facilities increase this year and that is continuing to add more stock to its portfolio to meet this demand.

Geoff Cowley, managing director of the Hoseasons Group, said: “Later and shorter have been strong trends in how people are booking their holidays this year.

“It did rain, but the weather did not have as significant an effect as people anticipated. Domestic customers understand the domestic marketplace.

“We did see some changes in what people booked and clearly some parts of the portfolio are more weather-proof than others.”

Cowley said the group did not have a large selection of product in London, so the major impact of the Olympics was a disruption of the usual booking patterns.

“We expected 2012 to be pretty much the same as 2011 and we expect 2013 to be pretty much the same again. People’s decisions are effected by economic factors.

“We have taken a similar number of people on holiday this year as last but people are more price conscious. Some of that is about deal making, some is consumer confidence and people waiting until nearer in to the holiday to spend their momey.

“People are looking for value and we are working with partners to put great value in to the marketplace.”


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