Wendy Wu Tours has seen a surge in bookings in Ireland and Scotland after employing dedicated business development managers (BDMs) in both markets.
The independent operator previously had one BDM looking after both Scotland and Ireland but has reaped the benefits since creating separate roles as part of the expansion of its trade team in late 2018.
John Warr, global sales director of Wendy Wu Tours, told TTG: “We expanded our team because we wanted to go deeper with our agent partners. This has enabled us to broaden our reach, particularly in Ireland.
“In Ireland, we have already achieved the same amount of business so far this year that we achieved for the whole of 2018 and there are still eight to nine months left this year.”
Warr added Wendy Wu’s Scottish sales were also up by 20% during March compared with the same month last year.
Despite this success, Warr admitted the market was “tough” due to uncertainty caused by Brexit. “It’s tough out there and everybody is having to work harder to convert,” he said.
“People are taking a little bit longer because of the uncertainty. We’re seeing growth for 2019 but not necessarily at the level we want it to be.”
A more positive trend has been clients’ willingness to book ahead with strong sales for 2020 departures and bookings coming in for 2021, added Warr.
New Solo tours to destinations such as China, Vietnam, Japan and India have been selling well, while Japan tours had “been flying out the window”.
“As soon as we sold out our Japan tours we have put new tours on the market,” he said. “We have added new tours in September and November around the time of Rugby World Cup and the Abta Convention.”
Wendy Wu is also to launch its first river cruise ship, Victoria Mekong, in December which will sail three- and four-night itineraries through Vietnam and Cambodia.
Warr said the new ship had received a positive response from the trade and Wendy Wu hoped to charter the 35-cabin ship to other travel companies.
“We’ve already sold some charters,” he added. “We’re also talking to river cruise lines that currently only operate in Europe.”
The operator has also launched a promotion for agents to win a place on a China fam.