Classic Collection’s trade booking portal will shortly launch to a test bed of 50-100 agents, new parent company On the Beach Group has confirmed.
On the Beach paid £20 million for Classic Collection in August, with its new owners revealing it would harness some of the “five million short-haul beach holidays that are booked offline each year” – some via the new Classic Collection Packages agents’ portal.
On the Beach chief executive Simon Cooper told TTG: “Classic Collection Packages will be soft-launched shortly, with a hard launch in the first quarter of next year.”
He added future plans for Classic Collection as a whole could involve new destinations.
“Classic Collection mainly sells short-haul luxury. We may look to expand the product mix over three to five years, introducing longer-haul, for example,” said Cooper.
He added: “Our specialism over the past 14 years has been selling short-haul beach to consumers. Acquiring Classic Collection will give us access to a different sales outlet via the high street and homeworkers.”
On the Beach overcame the hot UK summer and World Cup to report adjusted group profits before tax up 17.9% for the year to the end of September.
The group made £33.6 million on turnover of £104.1 million, which rose 24.5%. The result included a £1.1 million contribution from Classic Collection.
On the Beach now claims a market share of more than 20% of online sales in the short-haul sector.
Cooper called the result “market leading” and said a cut in marketing spend combined with its lower cost base had offset reduced demand from the UK this summer.
“We are not operating a huge fixed cost base or trying to sell committed inventory,” he said.
Cooper added early 2019 trading had been “strong”. This, he said, was due to “a slightly earlier release of summer capacity by major low-cost carriers, lower year-on-year seat prices for winter departures and a continued efficiency in marketing spend”.