A new specialist tour operator aiming to become the “go-to name for LGBT travellers” is gearing up to work with agents.
Chillimix, created by World Travel Lounge boss David McDonald, will initially offer beach and city holidays across 28 destinations, bookable through the brand’s website.
It will start selling through the trade next month promising “strong commission” and price parity.
The company, which currently has a team of four staff, has secured an Atol through Protected Trust Services and is licensed to carry 1,000 passengers in the coming year.
It has also recruited former Attraction World and Scenic and Emerald Waterways sales rep Nicky Yates to lead its trade sales operation.
Yates joins as trade partnerships manager and is tasked with growing Chillimix’s relationships with agents.
Speaking to TTG, McDonald explained how the concept had been developed around 18 months ago and at the time he was looking to working closely with Thomas Cook Airlines.
When Cook collapsed, the project was put on hold and revived earlier this year.
McDonald said he was unafraid to launch a new business venture amid the challenges of Covid and called Yates “a natural fit” to help grow the business.
“Despite everything that’s going on we feel like it’s as good a time as any to launch a new brand. We don’t have the historical baggage and issues over refunds that a lot of companies have faced this year.
“We want to treat the trade as well as our customers and coming from a travel agency background there was no doubt about us having price parity.
“Nicky is the perfect person to bring onboard for this. She’s so experienced working and developing relationships with agents and has so much knowledge as an LGBT traveller herself.”
McDonald said the company’s name – thought up in a bar in Blackpool - was a way to standout and “avoid rainbow washing and stereotypical tropes”.
“Our brand is very tongue-in-cheek but we want to appeal across the community to different ages, genders, walks of life and travel needs.
“There is a lot more LGBT-focused product in the market than there was a few years ago but we want to become that go-to name for customers and agents.
“Understandably not many people are looking to grow their businesses right now but we’ve got a great team in place and a really exciting product that we’re looking forward to sharing with the trade.”