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‘Secret weapon’ in Hays cruise plan


Chris Gray in Barcelona. HAYS TRAVEL Independence Group is to beef up its presence in the cruise market next year, when it will unveil a new start-up agency member with a leader who has huge expertise in the sector. The arrival of the new member comes after

Hays IG struck a new deal with Royal Caribbean offering potentially lucrative commission terms, and unveiled a new cruise dynamic packaging system it believes puts it ahead of its rivals. The developments emerged at the Hays IG

conference in Barcelona, where Hays Travel managing director John Hays told TTGthat cruise would be a key growth area for IG members next year, along with long-haul holidays using scheduled airlines. The IG organisation’s push into cruise will be

buoyed by the arrival of the new member, set to be officially announced in January. It is being put together by a former independent cruise agent with a formidable reputation in the sector. The agent is forbidden from talking about the

venture until January for legal reasons. However, cruise agents at the conference

believe the new member could become a major player in the sector. The group will be also boosted by the deal with

Royal Caribbean, which is increasing its capacity by 42% next year, partly through the arrival of

John Hays and wife Irene at the IG conference

its biggest ship Allure, which launches this month.

The deal gives Hays IG members access to high commission in return for meeting targets and is designed to help Royal Caribbean fill its extra capacity.

“It will be a challenge for someone like

Royal Caribbean to get these ships filled at the high yields they would like. I think it is reasonably confident even in these economic times but they want to work with people like us,” Hays said.

Cruise has also been added to the IG’s dynamic packaging system ISell for the first time, which will allow members to put cruises together with long-haul flights. It is thought to be the only system that lists all the cruises lines calling at

EasyJet nears seat allocation decision

EASYJET HAS confirmed it is looking at moving to allocated seating, as exclusively revealed by TTG last month (TTGOctober 29). The airline’s chief executive Carolyn McCall

told TTGthat a potential move to allocated seating had formed part of a strategic review of easyJet’s business she had implemented when she took over in July. No decision has been made. “There is no way that we could carry out a

04 19.11.2010

strategic review without looking at a review of allocated seating,” said McCall as she unveiled the airline’s results for the last year. “We have done a lot of work on it, but we have

not yet made a decision on this. When we have decided, we will let everybody know.” McCall also talked about the potential with

Low Cost Travel Group to set up easyJet Holidays. “We see a lot of revenue potential over the


‘500 Goldtrail calls a week’: Hays Travel still has 8,000 customers awaiting refunds after the Goldtrail collapse, but expects to have dealt with them all by Christmas. The company had 17,000 customers affected by the collapse and many experienced delays in getting refunds as Hays negotiated with the CAA about whether it could reimburse the money itself or not. Managing director John Hays said that a

dedicated team set up to deal with the aftermath of the collapse was still getting 500 calls a week from customers, whose frustration he understood. At one point, Hays was receiving 200 calls a day. But he said the complexity of the failure meant that Hays staff had to work through about 18 different scenarios that could apply to a booking before deciding if they could reimburse a customer directly. Asked during the conference why Hays did

not take Goldtrail off sale months before the collapse, Hays said he had not seen the collapse coming and would have acted if he had done so. However, he said he had warned members in the spring that he had been concerned about the volume of business they were putting through Goldtrail as a group.

a port once the agent inputs the name of the destination. Hays is also creating a dedicated cruise sales team with the group’s first head of cruise, Andrea Kendal, who was previously head of commercial.

■Exclusive Hays conference report, pages 10-11

next three to five years. With a website that has 350 million visitors we should be able to promote easyJet Holidays successfully and get significant conversion rates,” she said. McCall said one of her priorities was to

improve punctuality, which slumped to 48% from Gatwick in June. She told TTGthe delays were due to crewing problems and this had been addressed by recruiting more pilots and crew.

■Business travel on easyJet’s radar, p14


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