WTM 2013: Tourico courts traditional tour operators as part of growth plans

WTM 2013: Tourico courts traditional tour operators as part of growth plans

Wholesaler Tourico Holidays hopes to supply product to more traditional tour operators in the UK as it plans large-scale growth of its exclusive hotel deals worldwide.

The wholesaler already works with a number of retail groups and consortia in the UK such as Travel Counsellors, Stella and STA Travel, providing them with hotel rooms, car hire, transfers, cruises, flights and attractions. The company, whose rivals include Hotelbeds.com and GTA, also provides product such as hotel rooms for several airlines including Emirates and American Airlines.

Lauren Volcheff, vice president of marketing, said: "We are looking to grow our business in the UK. We have been in the marketplace some time - we have our 20th anniversary next year - but there is definitely room to expand in the UK among traditional tour operators. "

The wholesaler has significantly stepped up its presence at World Travel Market this year as it gears up to work with more trade partners and is offering travel agents the chance to win prizes by filling in quiz sheets at its stand.

Tourico currently has 36,000 hotels on its books, of which 600 are "pre-bought", which means the wholesaler commits to selling the rooms via its trade partners by paying for them in advance. While this only represents 2% of its inventory, sales of these pre-bought rooms account for 32% of the company's revenue. The company is looking to grow its 'ExclusiveDeals' range by 600% in the next 12 months.

Volcheff is confident the exclusive hotel content and an expanded range of direct XML feeds into car hire companies and hotels will prove attractive to UK operators because it means it can offer more competitive rates and availability and means operators do not need to strike deals directly with these suppliers.

It already has two hotels - one in New York and one in London - in which all the rooms are exclusive to Tourico, and is hoping to sign up a third in Las Vegas in the near future.

"Our exclusive deals are a huge part of how we differentiate ourselves from competitors and we are looking to pre-purchase more hotel product. We also have a new direct connect deal (XML feed) with car rental company Hertz which means operators are getting real-time prices and inventory in a single location. We are also directly connected with 12 hotel chains," she added.

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