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Luxury travel news

02 Sep 2015

BY April Hutchinson


Simply Luxury sees bookings soar

With its latest Simply Luxury 2015/16 long-haul brochure landing with agents this week, Travel 2 has said bookings for the brand are 20% up year on year.


Amila Fushi in the Maldives is new for Simply Luxury’s long-haul programme


The company’s financial year runs from June to June, and Gordon McCreadie, UK B2B sales and marketing director for Travel 2 and Gold Medal, said: “We continue to see growth with this brand.”


“Customers are increasingly cash-rich but time-poor and they are looking to the services of good independent agents - more of whom seem to be moving across to book their luxury travel with us,” he added. “As we’re trade-only, agents know they are not going to go online and see it cheaper across any of our channels.”


McCreadie said most regions such as Asia, Indian Ocean, US and Caribbean were performing well, along with Dubai driving a lot of business. “Of the 25 top-selling resorts across our range, 12 of them are in Dubai,” he said.


Now into its fourth annual edition, the brochure will feature Dominican Republic for the first time, along with luxury touring in East Africa, including an eight-day “sky safari” in Kenya and an eight-day Tanzania trip.


Simply Luxury by Travel 2 has added 20 properties for 2016, including Amila Fushi, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island and Niyama in the Maldives; Conrad Dubai and The Royal Residences at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai; and the SLS Las Vegas.


Trading so far for the new financial year has shown UAE up by 17% year-on-year; Maldives 27% up; Mauritius increased by 18%; Barbados up 20% and Mexico up by 31%.


McCreadie added that long-haul business continued to be a mix of ‘fly cheap, stay chic’.


“You might think a luxury programme would be all private jets and business class, but actually it’s seems to be a case of ‘fly cheap, stay chic’, as people seem happy to sit ‘at the back’ and invest in a room upgrade instead,” he said. “Economy class is so much more impressive with the big airlines now and there are some great airfares around.”


The Simply Luxury team has also been boosted to 12, with two additional staff bought for agent bookings.


Cooking up interest

The brochure will launch with a prize draw incentive of £100 John Lewis vouchers for two agents who make a new booking to any destination from the 2015/16 brochure before October 18.


The launch will also be backed up by a luxury roadshow taking in Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and London between October 29 and November 11.


McCreadie said 50 agents were expected at each event, with some places still available.


“The roadshows are bigger this year; we had a great response last year so we’re boosted them a bit,” he said. “We also wanted to make them more of an experience, so they will all be culinary themed, such as cooking lessons or demonstrations, along with the chance for agents to meet with a range of suppliers.”


The day-long events will take place at Bordeaux Quay in Bristol on October 29; Abode Manchester on November 9; The Corinthian Club in Glasgow on November 10; and Le Meridien Piccadilly in London on November 11.


Simply Luxury’s short-haul programme also continued to “exceed expectations” McCreadie said, but added it was a “challenging space to be in”.


“It has performed well despite challenges over the summer, such as uncertainty among some travellers about going to Greece,” he said. “But the bad weather over our summer has definitely sent more people into the lates market – Portugal, Majorca, Canaries and Cyprus have been popular.”


A mini brochure showcasing special offers and new properties recently added to short-haul will be launched on September 21, he added.


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