EasyJet’s chief executive has confirmed its tour operation, easyJet holidays, would be open to working in partnership with travel agents.
Speaking at the Abta Travel Convention in Seville on Wednesday, Johan Lundgren said since joining easyJet on December 1 last year he and his team had been “looking at opportunities we don’t have”, including growing easyJet Holidays.
Lundgren said of the 20 million easyJet customers who book accommodation, only 0.5 million utilise easyJet Holidays.
“The opportunities are two-fold,” said Lundgren.
“One is to increase and the cost base we have. We don’t need to sell the amount that Booking.com does, but we will have a few selected partners and a good range of destinations – we’ll have closer and stronger relationship with hotels.
“We’re talking to a number of large brands and individual hotels because the opportunities for them is obvious.”
EasyJet has one of Europe’s most visited websites, with 350 million visitors per year.
Asked specifically about working with the trade, Lundgren said: “Travel agencies sell easyJet flights every day, and if there are agencies out there who feel they would like to be part of the story, we would definitely have a discussion about it.
“They provide a very good and meaningful service.”
When it was suggested that easyJet’s focus was surely only a direct one, Lundgren said: “I think the world has moved on – I think you can do things in conjunction with other partners to make sure you have a close customer relationship.”
Meanwhile, Lundgren revealed easyJet had recruited James Hardy from Jet2.com and Jet2holidays to head up its digital.
Asked whether easyJet was going to follow the Jet2 model with a “very specific tour operator programme”, Lundgren said easyJet would continue at its core to be an airline.
“We are not changing into a tour operator as such – this (easyJet Holidays) is an initiative that was launched three years ago, we’ve just started putting more investment into it.
“We are creating a stronger relationship with certain hoteliers, so with the cost base we have with the airline, we think we’re going to be able to provide fantastic value.”