The boss of easyJet Holidays has hailed the role of travel agents in selling the operator’s holidays – and hopes the UK government will swiftly introduce policies to give consumers confidence ahead of the peak selling season.
Garry Wilson, Chief Executive, was speaking during a virtual TTG summit as part of London Travel Week, ahead of WTM Virtual (9-11 November).
The operator started selling via travel agents in August, with partners such as Hays Travel, The Travel Network Group, Travel Counsellors and Midcounties Co-operative Travel.
“I have been delighted with the support from trade; the number of bookings is over our expectations,” he told TTG’s Editor Sophie Griffiths.
“We are looking to bring on more partners as soon as we can. Just think how successful we could have been in normal circumstances.”
He said price parity for agents was difficult because the operator does not have the right margins but added:
“I am blown away by how well the trade have reacted to our products and are selling effectively…it’s a massive success.”
Winter-sun and European city breaks had been proving popular before the lockdown in England imposed a ban on leisure travel from 5 November.
Wilson called on the government to give the industry more notice of changes, as sudden U-turns on travel restrictions were causing disappointment and frustration.
“We need to speak in unified, loud voice and have a much clearer position on testing at airports – and coordinate across Europe so people have confidence,” he told the seminar.
“This lockdown could be four weeks of breathing space, to buckle down and get a comprehensive policy on testing across Europe so customers can be tested at airports.
“It seems a simple approach, I don’t understand why it’s not possible.”
He also called for cheaper tests as £120 per person would make family holidays too expensive.
With the peak selling season approaching over Christmas and New Year, he hopes the government will implement policies to buoy consumer confidence.
“We are fed-up of waiting for this [pandemic] to be over,” he said.
“People are sat in the cold, miserable weather – let’s give them something to be hopeful about and feel normal.”
He anticipated Turkey, Greece and Egypt will be popular because of their hotels’ facilities and “phenomenal value for money”.