Simpson Travel is reaping the rewards of a year of structured trade strategy and is “quietly confident” of a stronger 2020.
Managing director Graham Horner said: “Trade business is massively up, with agents’ contribution more than double where it was 12 months ago. Last year was a really challenging one for those of us focused solely on the Med, with a very difficult peaks period. But this year, January was 25% up and we’re finding our way again.”
Head of sales Kathryn Coles, who initially joined Simpson a year ago to focus on the trade, said business was “booming” via a selected group of agents who “really get behind us”.
“We’ve made it easier for agents to work with us, from the commission structure to goal-setting, and ensuring benefits such as travel concessions,” Coles said of her year-one undertakings.
She added that customers were requesting more pre-bookable experiences, such as chefs, yachts, surf lessons and wellness weeks. “People want more than a fly-and-flop trip, and the potential to add on extras is a further opportunity for agents.”
Horner agreed the drive for personalised experiences was never more prevalent. “That’s the difference we have to offer. I see our competition now as that DIY, Airbnb market, rather than other operators.”
When it comes to trade activity, new for this year will be a lifestyle magazine in March to communicate Simpson product, along with more opportunities for personal trips and a potential fam trip for top achievers.
“We are investing in agents as and when the right thing is helpful for both of us,” said Coles. “What we do as a business is about tailoring everything to clients – and that’s the same approach for agents.”