The Turkey, Morocco, Majorca and Greece specialist’s owner, Nick Wrightman, said that although the operator sells largely direct, it wants to grow its relationship with the trade.
He said that despite a general lull in demand for Turkey, The Discerning Collection’s programme to the troubled country was now almost sold for June and September.
“Recently, I asked my hotelier partners in Turkey to reduce prices for May, which allowed us to pass on the offer directly. They were happy to do it because they’re obviously struggling to fill all their rooms,” he said.
“Within the first few days we had already achieved our targets for the whole campaign. I emailed all my clients, who had already booked for May and offered them the same discount, which they said wouldn’t happen with other operators.”
Wrightman said that despite specialising in some destinations that are suffering, he was optimistic about The Discerning Collection’s future.
“We get a great deal of repeat business and our model is secure in that hoteliers get paid when the client gets home and we have no commitment,” he said.
“We also only spend our profit, and our own invesment capital as we operate our own trust account. We never use clients’ pipeline money to fund our business.”
Wrightman said the operator was coming off the back of two profitable years and was expecting the same earnings this year as last.
While Morocco bookings were down, he said these had been made up for by strong Greece and Turkey sales.
Wrightman conceded that the number of bookings through Travel Counsellors had declined by about 1,000 since 2014, but these had been offset by more bookings overall.
He said he was unconcerned about new Turkey operator Fairlight Jones, which has been set up by Andrew Lee, a former director of Wrightman’s old operator Tapestry Holidays, which failed in 2006.
The Discerning Collection has diversified its programme in view of the uncertainty in Turkey and Morocco, incorporating ski in the past three months and with plans to add Oman to its programme in the next two weeks.
The firm is offering two weeks for the price of one at Turkey’s The Likya Residence and Spa and The Asfiya Sea View, for stays commencing on May 1, 8 or 15.