Lastminute.com is looking to develop a ‘UK holidays by train’ product as part of its plans to ramp up its domestic breaks business.
UK managing director John Bevan said that long-term it wanted to offer UK rail-based dynamic packages similar to its Eurostar offer. Currently the site offers rail-only bookings through an affiliate deal with raileasy.
Earlier this week lastminute.com revealed a surge in its UK business, with UK hotel-only bookings are currently 40% up year-on-year. Bevan said it has “reinforced its contracting team” to source the inventory to meet the demand. More than 90% of the UK hotels on the site are directly contracted.
Bevan admitted that “London is already our biggest accommodation-only destination, bigger than Paris of New York” so the emphasis has been on building up supply in other cities. Similarly, it has been adding lifestyle content such as theatres, restaurants and attractions in the regions.
As well as major UK cities, ‘traditional’ seaside towns’ have also seen strong growth. Brighton is 63% up, Blackpool 88%, Scarborough 37%, Bournemouth 33% and Newquay 125%.
There are no plans for a dedicated marketing focus for its enhanced UK offer. Bevan said that its summer campaigns were based around “make the most of summer” rather than specific destinations. However, it will promote UK offers on the site and through its newsletters and direct marketing.
“There are a lot of factors which make the UK an interesting market this summer,” he said.