EasyJet holidays launches with smaller than hoped for ATOL
EasyJet will launch its new package holiday platform at midday today with the aim of selling a million holidays next year.
However, currently easyJet Holidays is only licensed to carry 104,500 passengers until September 2020. It says it plans to increase this shortly.
It is working with 5,000 hotels in more than 100 destinations and has directly contracted beds for the first time at 500 properties; the remaining 4,500 will be booked through a bed bank. Last month, it revealed it had been inundated with requests from hoteliers wanting to do business with the airline following the collapse of Thomas Cook.
At the moment, easyJet holidays has only a direct-sell platform, but chief executive Garry Wilson said he’s still keen to sell through travel agents.
The company hired The Travel Network Group’s former marketing director Si Morris Green several months ago as head of distribution. One of his roles, said Wilson, is to work out a structure for selling via travel agents.
“We want to offer really good value to our customers and we don’t want any costs that the business doesn’t need to carry,” he said. “We will be looking to announce our plans for working with agents sooner rather than later, we have the technology in place, we so far we have been focusing on getting the holiday business out, it’s been a huge undertaking and now we have launched we can focus on working with the trade.
“We just need to find a structure that works for agents and works for us.”
EasyJet holidays claims to offer lots of peak-time holiday availability and more weekend flying than any other operator.
It says it will offer customers ‘ultimate flexibility’, allowing them to choose exactly how many nights they want to stay thanks to the strength of its flying schedule. Also, all packages will include a baggage allowance of 23kgs per passenger.
EasyJet’s new beach holidays have been divided into ‘Luxury’, ‘Adult’, ‘Family’ and ‘Undiscovered’, while for city breaks it has ‘Luxury’ and ‘Boutique’ collections.
It said the business has been built to overcome the things that frustrate travellers the most; this includes the amount of time spent looking for good deals (25%), the added expense of travelling at preferred times (21%) and the lack of flexibility with flight times and dates (17%).
The new website integrates with easyJet’s app and features advanced mapping technology, meaning customers can research a city or resort before they book. Key points of interest and walking routes from chosen hotels are highlighted – together with new itinerary guides for a selection of cities.
The website will also feature TripAdvisor ratings, following research showing that holidaymakers trust these reviews over anything else (40%) when it comes to choosing which hotel to book. It will also use AI to learn and personalise the experience for customers.