Exclusive: Directline reports strong start to January sales

Online travel agent Directline Holidays has claimed January revenues were 40% up year on year, with dynamic packaging holidays showing a particular uplift.

Chief executive Maria Whiteman said she was very optimistic with how the trading has started in 2010 for the Advantage member which is one of the UK’s top four OTAs.

Site visits for the first month of the year were up 35%, she said, 80% of which came from natural search, she said.

Unlike other sites Directline does not offer a flight plus hotel search path, instead mixing in dynamically packaged holidays with regular retail Packages.

Whiteman said DP sales were 100% up year-on-year in January, although she added conventional packages remained very important for Directline as, depending on the time of the year, they are sometimes cheaper than DIY.

The DP/package split is 50:50, a proportion she believes is about right. “There is a place for everything and they are complimentary,” she said.

Whiteman said many rivals whose businesses are more focussed on dynamic packaging have their own direct hotel contracts in place.

Directline has investigated on its airline search the impact of showing airline logos in the search results but continues not to opt not to show logos on its holiday search.

On its new budget comparison site cheap-holidays-compared.co.uk showing logos has resulted in the conversion rate of packages holidays far outstripping DP.

Whiteman said Egypt and Turkey remain popular, even though the latter is not a winter product and she said it has seen a trend towards shorter durations and all inclusive.

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