Vertical Group to expand its VHI hotel marketing system

The Vertical Group is expanding its hotel direct marketing system VHI, claiming it has created a new route to market for overseas accommodation suppliers.

The VHI system was launched in 2010 and is now employed by 25 hotels across Greece, Spain, the Canary Islands and the United States.

The system offers hotels a way of selling room nights with flights as part of a package using Vertical’s Atol bonding and Abta membership through the Freedom Travel Group.

Vertical Group chief executive Peter Healey said he expected the VHI system to be adopted by 35-40 hotels this year and 100 next year. “We have hotels asking us to help them create a route into UK marketplace.”

He added: “We offer a specialist relationship with each hotel. We create a brand position in the UK market for the individual property which allows them to develop a profile in the UK direct with the consumer.

“We are now one of the biggest retailers of Sani Resort – we’ve become a new route to market for them in the UK, while other people’s sales have declined.”

Partner hotels add a ‘Book Hotel’ and ‘Package Holiday’ buttons to their websites that clicks through to an external Vertical booking page where other products can be added like flights and transfers.

Healey said agents would be able to book through these sites from May and would be paid a commission.

He also responded to agents’ concerns that they were losing bookings when customers find a cheaper price on the hotel’s own site.

“Most agents are challenged with their technology.  The real problem is we have seen a tremendous move online away from traditional routes.

“We see agents trying to generate all singing all dancing websites when they should focus on select individual properties. People need to look closer to home before they start blaming me. Don’t blame us – copy us.”

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