The word “exsus” derives from a term that means “to breathe life into or to awaken”, and it’s one that feels apt on a number of levels for tailor-made specialist operator Exsus Travel, which took the industry by surprise this summer by relaunching to the trade.
While Exsus’s brand name sits well with its reputation for adventure, managing director Habib Rehman has also breathed new life into the brand since he joined in 2010.
Eight years is a long time in business, but Rehman – who has a finance background – says he needed that time to lead the company to a position where it could really begin to fly.
I’m sitting with Rehman and Exsus’s new head of trade sales, Neil Sealy, in the operator’s London headquarters overlooking a bustling Baker Street.
It caused quite a stir when TTG broke the news in June that Sealy would be joining Exsus after six years at If Only, where he had most recently held the title of head of sales. Because not only was Sealy’s departure from If Only a surprise, it also signalled Exsus’s ambitions to sell through agents again after many years, somewhat bucking a trend in recent times for operators to shift their focus to selling directly.
Judging by the response Sealy says he has seen out on the road, agents have been quick to embrace Exsus – a brand many recall selling in the past.