Leading online travel agencies in the UK have cuts job in a bid to trim the businesses ahead of what is expected one of the toughest years in the economy for decades.
Ebookers is understood to have made a number of sales consultant positions redundant in December and lastminute.com also confirmed that cuts have been made. UK marketing director at lastminute.com Julie Davidson is understood to have before Christmas.
The news comes as speculation mounts that online travel agencies could be at the sharp end of a tightening economy as consumers turn to established tour operators with large marketing spend or direct sales with airlines and hotels.
Rumours surfaced of cuts at Ebookers in December and parent company Orbitz Worldwide last week said it would add another $20 million to its existing cost cutting programme of around $25 million from across the business, although this expected to come primarily from overhauling its technology partnerships.
Ebookers managing director Alan Josephs said: “We did have some strong UK offline sales agents working from their homes who took a subset of our UK offline sales calls and handled internal duty travel.
“We decided for efficiency reasons to fully migrate all of this business to our existing third party call centres in Delhi and Manila and to a small call centre we have in Ireland.”
Expedia declined to comment regarding any cuts at the agency.
However, a lastminute.com spokeswoman told Travolution: “Like any business in travel or otherwise we are impacted by the challenging financial climate and have to look for ways to operate in the most cost efficient way possible.
“There have been some redundancies but most notably we have taken active steps to reduce our overhead costs in other ways.”