Holiday Franchise Company sets out expansion targets

Te Holiday Franchise Company is on course to have 14 franchisees by the end of this year and hopes to have recruited another 12 by the end of 2020. Te company, part of

Holidaysplease but run separately, currently has 13 franchisees. It plans to add a further 10 to 12 each year. Agencies operate as standalone

homeworking businesses with separate Abta numbers but use Holidaysplease’s Atol and supplier deals through membership of Hays Travel Independence Group. Te company is also expanding

its head office team with the recruitment of a business support executive to support franchisees. It is the first travel franchise

business to be accredited by Te British Franchise Association and Te Approved Franchise Association and this year won the later’s ‘gold’ award for best new franchise, which credits its ethical approach to franchising. Head of franchise Jo Aldridge

said the company ensured franchisees were making the right choice in partnering with the Holiday Franchise Company and that their businesses were viable. Luke Western, business devel-

opment manager, said: “We are looking for long-term partnerships, which is one of key diffentiators. Tis isn’t a numbers game.”

Agents back a return of legacy system viewdata

Juliet Dennis

You might have thought you’d seen the last of viewdata – but online polls have shown overwhelming support for its return. Over the years, operators and

agents have gradually switched off legacy technology viewdata in favour of web-based booking portals. Viewdata, known for its

traditional ‘green screens’, looked like Teletext and was loved for its ‘any date, any destination’ search function. But now, the old search and

booking platform could be set for some sort of comeback – if the views of agents are anything to go by. More than 80 agents responded to

a Travel Weekly Facebook post asking if they would back a return of viewdata, with the vast majority answering ‘yes’. Emma Higgins wrote: “I’d love

viewdata back. So much quicker for searching – especially when the client doesn’t know where they want to go!” Janet Walker, of Te Holiday

Angel, part of Ruby Blue Travel, loved the fact agents could search different operator systems at once. She said: “It would come up with everything that was available. With most systems now you have to specify a destination.” A few agents were less

Simpson Travel promotes Coles

to new role of head of sales Simpson Travel has created a new head of sales role as part of a push for more trade bookings. Kathryn Coles, who joined the Mediterranean villa and boutique hotel operator from Tauck in January, has been promoted to the position and will take up the role on November 1. Since joining, Coles – who will visit agencies – has created the concept of the ‘Simpson Family’ for trade partners.

10 24 OCTOBER 2019

Chris North of Vertical Systems is developing a new version of viewdata

enthusiastic. Kerry Dawn Fuller posted: “No. We need to embrace change to move on. Would you bring back costing in brochures? No!” Te viewdata system is owned

by Vertical Systems. A poll run by the travel technology on Travel Gossip, the Facebook forum site, atracted 710 votes, with 588 saying ‘yes’ to reviving the old technology and 122 saying ‘no’. Vertical managing director Chris

North said: “Some operators are still on viewdata but most aren’t. Viewdata is old technology but I wanted to see if there was still an appetite for it in the industry.

Malta appoints Van der Merwe

as director for UK and Ireland Malta Tourism Authority has appointed Tolene van der Merwe as UK and Ireland director. The former UK and Ireland hub head for South African Tourism started in the role last week, succeeding Peter Vella who stepped down at the end of September after four years at the tourist board.

“My consensus is agents want

it but operators don’t. I get the impression agents are fed up with having to log into different operators’ systems to search for holidays.” North said new technology failed

to replicate viewdata’s “any date, any destination” search, which he described as a “utopia” for agents. Vertical is currently developing

a new version of the system which will allow agents to search operators’ product and availability at the same time by deep-linking into their

systems via a desktop application. iWould you like to see viewdata revived? Email

Caribbean tourist board to shut

UK office as part of restructure The Caribbean Tourism Organization is to close its UK office next year as part of a major restructure to “reinvent and reposition” the tourist board. Chairman Dominic Fedee said the UK office would shut by January 31 and the US office by December 31, 2020. The move will “significantly reduce” costs and follows “much discussion” over how to promote and develop Caribbean tourism.

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