Butlin’s, Haven & Warner Leisure Hotels will no longer be sold through travel agents as parent company Bourne Leisure has pulled its trade channel.
Bourne Leisure said it would focus its investment in “other areas of guest sales and communication” and has begun informing trade partners. It would not confirm the proportion of its business sold through the trade.
A transition period is underway, with some agent partners able to continue to sell stays at the parks, resorts and hotels until the end of contracts that are already in place.
A reduced trade sales team with remain in place for the duration of the transition period to ensure a smooth changeover and helping hand for partners that still hold bookings for customers. National trade sales manager Louise Tansey and head of trade sales and marketing, Erman Housein, will remain in their roles for the transition period, which will run until February 26, 2021.
Any Butlin’s, Haven or Warner Leisure Hotels breaks that have already been booked for 2021, as well as any booked during the transition period, will continue as planned and each brand will honour any current booking.
Bourne said it was also creating new roles as part of the consultation, and would look to redeploy staff affected by the restructure within the business “where possible”.
In a statement, the company said: “We have had to make some difficult choices over the last few months and one of these is unfortunately the decision to exit the travel trade.
“This has not been an easy decision especially as we know that our colleagues in the trade have also suffered as a result of the pandemic and we hugely value the relationships we have had for many years with these partners and thank them for their support. However, at this time we need to focus our investment in other areas of guest sales and communication.
“We have started the process of informing our partners in travel trade and the transition period will start immediately. We will have a team in place to manage any travel trade enquiries until the end of February and any holidays that have already been booked for 2021 and any booked during the transition period will continue as planned and each of our brands will honour any current booking.”
The company said Covid-19 “has had a seismic effect on the tourism and hospitality sector” and that, as a result, it was “making necessary changes to the products and services that we offer”.
Changes involve the three brands working more autonomously as separate businesses “with their own priorities” a decision Bourne Leisure said was “to allow us to emerge from this pandemic in a position to move forward strongly and continue to offer millions of guests a fantastic UK holiday”.
There will also be ‘organisational and operational changes’ at its Hemel Support Centre and at parks, resorts and hotels.
“We are confident that our three brands will grow and thrive in the future, but at this stage we cannot say when that will exactly be,” the statement said.
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