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“Stowing a bag of nuts and seeds in the desk drawer will help you maintain a nice even keel throughout the day” HEALTH MATTERS 360’S IAN FREEMAN ON WORKPLACE WELLBEING, P30


Rebooking under way as other bed banks look to absorb OHG’s business


BED BANK DEMISE IN BRIEF Edward Robertson


AGENTS HAVE had a lucky escape from the fallout of the collapse of Holiday Brokers, On Holiday Group’s accommodation division. Concerns had arisen in the


industry that the trade could be forced to rebook a large number of trips at a higher price than the original cost – and pick up the difference. However, Hays Travel owner John


Hays said with a couple of exceptions the process of changing up to 5,000 bookings at his agency had been problem free. He said: “Obviously there’s a


couple of cases of hotels trying to exploit the situation [price wise], but they’re isolated cases. As we speak we haven’t got everybody rebooked but we’re on the way there.” Hays added the situation had been


COLLAPSED DIVISION


Endacott: ‘I’ve had enough of the holiday market right now’


STEVE ENDACOTT is contemplating quitting the industry in the wake of On Holiday Group Accommodation’s collapse and has urged those staying in it to “get their brains tested”. The founder and chief executive of


the company has more than 20 years experience in the industry and is one of its most prolific and vocal figures. But following his company’s


demise, which he blames on a £4.5 million tax dispute with HMRC, he is contemplating a future outside of travel. Endacott said: “At the moment I’ve


just had enough of the holiday market because of the bullsh*t, regulations and HMRC treatment that basically strangles the life out of the sector. “Any entrepreneur thinking about


simplified as the agency owns its own bed bank, “so we have relationships with the suppliers”. Nor does he expect one particular


bed bank to fill the vacuum left by the division’s demise. He added: “The gap will be absorbed by all of the players; the business will be divvied up among the existing suppliers.” Qwerty Travel owner Matt Somers


said at the time of going to press the OTA had rebooked around a third of the 324 forward bookings he had with OHG. He added: “We’ve had a couple of


problems with people being charged more in resort, but we’ve managed to sort them out.” Somers added the demise of the


division will also give some welcome breathing space to the bed bank sector, adding: “There’s a huge amount of bed banks and we don’t need more. The whole sector was


ripe for consolidation or failures.” Elite Travel Group chief executive


Neil Basnett said the consortium’s members had fewer than 100 bookings with OHG as most preferred to work with tour operators following the change in rules on holiday protection in 2011. He added: “The only bed banks


that we’ve tried to support are the companies which have principal status and if they haven’t we haven’t gone overboard with them.” Meanwhile, Global Travel Group managing director Andy Stark said members had business booked in advance with OHG worth about six figures. Rebooking had proved fairly straightforward, particularly since the consortium has its own bed bank where agents could book fully protected product, he added. “We’ll protect the bookings and do the paperwork behind it,” he added.


entering this sector should have their brains tested because there must be more profitable ways of spending your life than fighting government all the time. “I’m sure after a few months off,


licking my wounds, I may be tempted back, but I have a lot of people around me to tell me don’t do it.” Endacott added the Medhotels


test case had been the “elephant in the room” for the past four years. He added: “Every bed bank wanted


to speak out about the injustice but knew as soon as they did it would destroy their business because hoteliers would stop supplying them on credit. “This whole farce has destroyed


Endacott: HMRC strangles the sector


countless jobs in the UK with companies like Lowcostbeds forced to move out. All of this work has been pushed offshore due to crazy judgements of a greedy HMRC, which acted contrary to the interpretation other European countries put on this.”


BUDGET ROUTE TO JEDDAH Saudi Arabian budget carrier Flynas has confirmed the start of flights to Jeddah from Gatwick and Manchester in the spring. Gatwick will commence on April 8 and Manchester on a date in May. Introductory fares from Gatwick are £166 return including taxes. Airbus A330 aircraft will feature a business cabin.


£453M GLOBAL BUSINESS AT WTM Last year’s World Travel Market is set to generate almost half a billion pounds of business for exhibitors in its Global Village zone, according to independent research. Fusion Communications estimates £453 million in contracts will be achieved before WTM 2014, compared with £410 million in 2012.


TWO VIRGIN BOSSES STEP DOWN Virgin Holidays has lost two key members of staff. Amanda Wills has stepped down as managing director after 13 years to pursue other opportunities. Marketing director Andrew Shelton has quit after eight years.


SCHOOL FINES UP BY 70% Research by the BBC shows a 70% increase in fines of parents who take children out of school for a holiday. Among 34 councils that responded, almost 5,300 fines had been levied, with Liverpool reporting a big crackdown.


MISSING MALAYSIA AIRLINER Malaysia Airlines is facing the prospect of its first passenger deaths in 19 years following the unexplained loss of flight 370 last weekend. The carrier’s previous fatal accidents, involving 134 passengers, were in 1995 and 1977.


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