If Only ‘delighted’ with agent support as it sees record start to year

Luxury operator If Only has reported a record-breaking start to the year, with sales well above 2019 figures.

Beach holiday bookings for the first eight weeks of 2023 are up by 28% compared to the same period in 2019, while tailormade sales are 56%.

The B2B operator said this reflects the trends for consumers to book more touring, bucket-list and luxury adventure holidays, following the lifting of Covid travel restrictions.

There were 12 bookings worth more than £125,000 in the first six weeks of 2023, with a further 24 bookings topping £50,000.

The average booking value increasing by more than 80% on 2022 – and the average agent commission being earned so far this year is more than £2,000 per sale.

If Only has also seen a spike in high-value multi-generational bookings, such as a recent holiday to St Kitts and Nevis and others to the Maldives and Australasia.

Gordon McCreadie, If Only general manager, said: “We are delighted with the support our agent partners have given us so far in peaks and working in partnership with retailers we have helped them to secure several high-value bookings over recent weeks.

“These aren’t a one-off as we have seen a large increase since the pandemic in large group bookings and a spike in multi-generational bookings.

“Luxury customers still have large levels of disposable income and are travelling in numbers and upgrading their holiday by travelling in forward cabins plus booking higher room categories and meal options so all-inclusive in Indian Ocean, Caribbean, and Middle East all popular whilst staying longer in resort.

“These have helped If Only to have our two highest trading days in the company’s 22-year history last week and that’s all down to our agent partners.

“We never take their support for granted and consistently strive to be the best luxury operator supporting the trade.”

He said the firm had recruited 10 extra staff ahead of the peaks selling season to help improve its service to agents.

About 96% of calls from agents were answered within two  minutes during January and February, he added.

If Only’s The World is Waiting campaign runs until March 31, offering hotel stays and holidays as prizes.

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