Jet2holidays is intent on closing the gap on the ‘big two’ and will invest in the trade to help it achieve its aim.
The number of passengers Jet2holidays carries has grown from a million in 2014-15 to more than 1.2 million predicted for 2015-16, with 34% of these booked through agents.
Speaking at the tour operator’s first agent conference in Majorca last week, chief executive Steve Heapy said the trade support and field sales team would grow by 30% in the coming months and Jet2holidays would stand by its commitment to not cut commission this year or next.
Heapy said he organised the conference because he wanted to bring members of “an important part of our business” together.
“There is no hidden agenda,” he said. “If anything, we are trying to increase our work with the trade.
“Other people have reduced their trade support teams. We do not see it as a cost; we see it as an investment.”
Jet2holidays defended a decision to open up online seat and meal selection directly to customers, describing it as a “great way” for agents to earn extra commission
by directing customers online.
Asked whether the operator would consider reducing its level of discounting for direct bookings, Heapy said: “We have to have the differential pricing to compete effectively in both channels.
“Many people want to speak to a travel expert. It’s much easier than endlessly searching for stuff.”
Despite serving only the north of the UK, the firm positions itself as the third-largest tour operator.
“If you look at the Atol rankings we are some way behind Tui, which is first, and Thomas Cook,” said Heapy.
“Monarch is third but much of that is flight-only. We believe we are the third biggest in terms of tour operators.”
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