Agents urged to try ‘trade secret’ Classic Package Holidays brand

Bosses at Classic Package Holidays are urging more travel agents to book with the B2B brand, describing the operator as a “secret source” that can’t be booked directly by consumers.

They highlight the company’s trade support, customer service and wide product range as reasons for agents to opt for Classic Package Holidays rather than a larger rival.

Andy Freeth, chief executive at parent company Classic Collection Holidays, told a Travel Weekly webcast that he’d seen an article in the Times’ travel section describing Classic Package Holidays as a “trade secret”.

If agents book their client with a bigger brand that sells to consumers, then that customer may well book direct next time, he commented.

“When it comes to Classic packages, as the Times report said, it’s a bit of a trade secret and we just need more travel partners using [us] as their secret source,” he said.

“A customer can’t book Classic Package Holidays so it’s almost a USP.”

He urged agents: “Don’t use one that’s obvious because of their size and scale. Use us and see, because you might be able to get a very similar price, if not better, and you may be able to earn a bit more commission in doing so.”

He pointed to the operator’s range of 5,000+ hotels, flexibility to book flights at airports across the UK, and an “amazing group deal” with SunExpress to Turkey.

Freeth said the growth in short-haul airline capacity for 2024 also gave the operator more options for flying customers to resorts.

Furthermore, the size of Classic Package Holidays and sister brand Classic Collection means the brands can offer personalised service to agents and customers.

“We do between 8,000 and 10,000 bookings in Classic Collection, significantly more in Classic Package with a lower average booking value,” he told the webcast.

“That gives us the ability to be able to service those customers really well. It’s more of a personal service than if you take millions of customers.

“That’s our little niche, the place that we sit in – even if we double in size, we can still offer that.

“We need to be realistic; probably over the next three or four years, we should be able to double in size.”

He said average prices are about 10% up year on year, thanks to the mix of products and prices generally increasing.

“We’re seeing that people want to do more exciting, fun things,” he said.

“Travel agents are trusting us with those more complicated, more complex itineraries.”

Si Morris Green, agency sales and marketing director at Classic Collection Holidays, said part of the reason for more complex itineraries was TV travel shows by stars such as Joanna Lumley.

“That is sparking the imagination of the consumer. Customers are demanding different itineraries,” he said.

“That’s the one thing agents love us for: we actually nail it and deliver that holiday.”

He pointed to recent awards from consortia such as Advantage Travel Partnership and The Travel Network Group as further proof of Classic’s trade credentials and the success of its 14-strong trade support and sales teams.

“When it comes to relationships, the guys that I have on the road are absolutely incredible,” he said.

“It’s all about everything that we do to support travel agents to get their customers, to grow their businesses.

“That is what has been pivotal to us and our success at awards.”

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