EasyJet Holidays is to hold a number of “trade days” to meet with agents and discuss how the operator can work effectively with travel consultants, its chief executive has revealed.
The operator is gearing up for its launch in December ahead of peaks and chief executive Garry Wilson insisted the operator was keen to work with agents, with plans to treat the trade days as a “fact finding exercise”.
Speaking to TTG at the Abta Travel Convention he said: “We want these days to be information gathering to work out what will work well for agents and for us.”
Wilson said he had already been approached by a number of agents wanting to work with easyJet Holidays and appealed for others to also get in touch.
The operator has appointed The Travel Network Group’s former marketing director Si Morris-Green to lead the trade strategy.
It came as Wilson revealed the operator had already met its target of agreeing contracts with 500 hoteliers, but said following Thomas Cook’s collapse it had been “inundated with calls” from other hoteliers, and that easyJet Holidays would now “look to add another 100 hotels by the end of the year”.
Wilson told TTG the hotels would “reflect easyJet’s broad customer base”, ranging from three star to five star. “We will have enough range to appeal to all these customers.”
He insisted the operator would focus on the airline’s network for the immediate term, but added: “We are speaking to a lot of destinations – as the business scales up we’ll be looking at new destinations”, although Wilson maintained the airline’s short-haul model would not change.
Wilson also said he would be keen to explore specific product in future such as ski, which he said was “an obvious choice”, while cruise and stay could also be one of a number of areas the operator considers in future. “We won’t ignore opportunities.”
Elsewhere, Wilson refused to reveal the size of Atol licence easyJet Holidays had applied for but insisted: “We are going big. The opportunity to scale up is massive.
“We can really leverage the size and scale of the airline. We have 320 planes flying 100 million seats a year. We’ve got more slots than any other airline in the world and we’re the second biggest airline in Europe. There is huge opportunity for us.”
He said easyJet Holidays would be focused on the UK market initially, but that the airline’s presence in Europe would enable it to roll out internationally in future.
Wilson dismissed concerns about relaunching the business at a time of such political uncertainty, insisting the operator would aid customers wanting to more flexibility and value on their breaks.
“We’ve been prepared for a no-deal Brexit since spring. We’re known for being great value, and we don’t think Brexit will be as much of a problem as it will be for other companies. We will have flexibility too, enabling customers to go for five nights if they prefer, rather than seven.”
Wilson said the operator would launch in December with a “significant marketing campaign” both digitally and on television.