Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy says there is no reason the operator can’t grow its proportion of trade business, versus direct, past the 30% mark – last achieved when both Thomas Cook and Tui sold Jet2 product.
Addressing delegates at Jet2’s VIP conference in Calpe, Costa Blanca, on Tuesday (26 November), Heapy said the business would expand its trade team for peaks to allow them to spend more quality time with independent agents across the UK and drive even more sales through agents.
Jet2 will take on an additional “promo executives”, specifically for peaks, who will be on hand to assist with events, training and other efforts to drive peaks bookings.
Independent agents currently account for 27% of all Jet2 bookings, and Heapy was insistent there was no upper limit.
“We want more travel agent bookings,” said Heapy. “There’s no reason we can’t get back over the 30% mark. There was a lot of volume going into Thomas Cook shops that should now be going into your shops.”
Alan Cross, Jet2holidays head of trade, told delegates it was a “fantastic time” to be a travel agent with more and more customers seeking the reassurance that comes with booking holidays through a professional travel agent.
General manager trade sales Craig Davidson said peaks was a “massive opportunity” for agents working with Jet2; the operator expects to take in excess of 500,000 agent bookings between January and March next year, worth £40 million in commission.
“We oversell through independent agents and we have no plans to change this in the future," said Cross, ruling out selling through Tui again.
“The customers are out there and it’s your job to find them and deliver the service required to make them [your] customers for life. We need to make this the best win-win partnership.”
Heapy also ran delegates from some of Jet2’s latest top level results for its most recent full year, including a 32% increase in turnover from £2.4 billion to £3.1 billion, which drove a 63% rise in profit from £110 million to £180 million.
“It wasn’t just a lucky year,” said Heapy. “We’ve grown every year. It’s not growth at all costs, we’re not just grabbing market share, we’re reinvesting every year, growing responsibly.”
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