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5 2


No-brochure plan ‘may hit our sales’


Juliet Dennis juliet.dennis@travelweekly.co.uk


A travel agent fears he could lose bookings following Hoseasons’ decision to stop supplying brochures for racking.


Nick Lee, managing director


of Broadland Travel in North Walsham, Norfolk, said his customer base of affluent, retired clients ask specifically for Hoseasons’ brochures to look through before booking. The agency has 14 customers


waiting for a Hoseasons’ 2018 brochure, and on average books 40 to 50 passengers a year with the operator. It would normally order a pack of brochures every month. Hoseasons announced last week


it will deliver only file copies of its 2018 lodge holidays, holiday parks and boating holidays brochures for agents, but none for customers to take away. It is also not producing a cottages brochure for 2018. Lee is concerned some clients


will now not book at all as he cannot offer them a similar UK break. “There is no other major cottage supplier in the UK [for the trade],” he said. “This could stop some people booking.”


Many suppliers have already


switched to digital brochures or plan to phase out paper brochures. A straw poll of agents through


online forum Travel Gossip showed a mixed response, with about half calling traditional brochures outdated and unnecessary, and half saying clients, particularly older customers, want a brochure. Lee said many Broadland Travel


customers do not want to research online, while some do not have access to a home computer. He added: “People come in all the time asking for brochures because they find them easier to look through. They are a starting point for a sale and make it easier to convert a booking.” Hoseasons sales director Sally


Henry said feedback had been “really positive”. She added: “We are more than happy to train agents on our online tools or address problems. We are not going back to printing brochures [for agents to rack].” Ironically, Broadland Travel is within walking distance of where Hoseasons brochures were printed some years ago. “We used to walk 100 yards and pick up a brochure


if we needed more,” said Lee. › Talk Back, page 27


Virgin’s first ship to be adult-only


Harry Kemble and Lucy Huxley


Virgin Voyages is recruiting for an international sales director to build “deep bonds with key travel partners” as it revealed its first ship would be adult-only.


Virgin Voyages has three ships


on order between 2020 and 2022 and the fleet will be known as the ‘Lady Ships’, a play on the term ‘your ladyship’, which the line said was a nod to British heritage. The ship’s design, which was


unveiled at a keel-laying ceremony at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Italy on Tuesday, will feature a silvery-grey hull, smoked glass, splashes of red and a mermaid design on the bow. In its job advert, the company says


it wants to recruit someone who will ideally bring “a minimum 10 years in travel or hospitality sales – cruise industry preferred; an in-depth knowledge of the cruise market and its sales strategies across a variety of segments; and deep bonds with key travel partners.” The new recruit will be also be


File copies only: Hoseasons’ 2018 brochures


expected to “identify and nurture relationships with like-minded partners whose customers are


sure to love the Virgin Voyages experience”, and “establish warm and loving relations with those partners”. A team and full distribution


strategy is expected to be in place by January. Controversially, Virgin Holidays went direct-sell in 2015. The cruise line is breaking with


tradition and calling balconies ‘sea terraces’ and passengers will be referred to as ‘sailors’. The decision to be “adult by


design” was driven by feedback from potential customers and travel professionals, who are looking for a “more elevated and premium experience”. Group founder Sir Richard


Branson and Virgin Voyages president and chief executive Tom McAlpin were lowered 200ft in to the keel-ceremony via a crane. McAlpin said: “Virgin Voyages is


creating a sophisticated ship and a transformational experience.” Customers and travel partners can place a $500 refundable deposit for access to a pre-sale before Virgin Voyages goes on general sale. The first 2,860-passenger ship


will sail in the Caribbean. It is due to be delivered in 2020.


2 November 2017 travelweekly.co.uk 5 3


Virgin Voyages’ ship design was unveiled this week


STORIES HOT


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