New forms of travel distribution like flash sale and daily deals sites could herald a return to old-fashioned tour operating and packages, the boss of a leading UK bed bank has claimed.
Speaking to Travolution on the Youhotels.com annual VIP trip in Cyprus last week, managing director Matt Cheevers said he sees the market “going full circle”, with the emphasis changing from sheer volume to offering the most outstanding deal.
Driving this are new channels like Travelzoo and Groupon which are looking for eye-catching and often unique deals to present to their growing databases.
But Cheevers fears the tour operating know-how in the industry has been lost over the last decade as dynamic packaging firms prioritised volume over quality.
“I can see movement in this industry where we are almost going back to 10 or 15 years ago when tour operators were in a strong place and effectively guessed what the consumer wanted to buy.
“They were going out getting good hotels, free transfers, free upgrades, trying to put together attractive packages.
“With the growth of routes like Travelzoo and Groupon the market could come full circle where we go back to having to put together packages for the consumer.
“The last 10 years has been dominated by dynamic packaging where effectively we are saying do it yourself. The consumer is now saying we like the choice but in a lot of ways there’s too much choice.
“Unfortunately in dynamic packaging systems a lot of the product that sits behind them is the same. We have to be a bit more creative.”
Cheevers said mid-sized online, call centre agents were ideally placed to take advantage of this new opportunity.
“They are big enough to get deals from airlines and bed banks and small enough to turn things round and have experts to push these ideas.”