Travel Daily catches up with Nick Hughes, sales director of dnata Travel B2B Europe.
What does your role involve and how long have you held it?
I’m in charge of the sales and partner relationships for Gold Medal and Travel 2. Part of that is overseeing the ten-strong field sales team managed by head of sales Colin Currie and our eight-strong sales support team in Preston and Glasgow managed by Karen Fletcher. I’ve been in the position since Dec 2017.
What are the recent updates and plans for the next 12 months?
It’s an exciting time for the business. John Bevan joined just before me as chief executive and our new managing director – Lisa McCauley – joined this month. Between us, we have masses of trade experience and know how well loved the two brands are. Our focus is on ensuring we maintain our focus, reputation and continue to innovate.
What type of customer does Travel 2 and Gold Medal suit?
The great thing about Gold Medal and Travel 2 and their sub-brands – PURE LUXURY and Simply Luxury by Travel 2 – is that it now has the product to suit just about anyone.
They are brands best known for great value long-haul, but over time have added more variety across their portfolios. PURE LUXURY – the luxury arm of Gold Medal – has expanded its product offering for 2018/19 with the addition of 50 new properties, five new tours and eight new destinations.
Over at Travel 2, a recent innovation has come from the dedicated touring product and cruising. Short-haul luxury is also relatively new for us at Travel 2 and it allows us to bring in a whole new group of potential customers.
What training, fam trips, incentives, etc. do you have coming up for travel agents?
We’ve got 40 FAM trip spots up for grabs on a USA trip with Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines along with plenty of campaigns and incentives planned up until the end of February demonstrating our commitment to rewarding the agent partners who support us.
“I really want to keep training at the forefront and that is something high on my to-do list – boosting agent knowledge is key because we can show how our offering stands apart from other operators.”
What trends are emerging that agents can capitalise on?
Everyone knows how cruise has grown as a sector – there is so much innovation from the various cruise operators. Our Travel 2 Cruise Plus product is doing really well, particularly in Asia and Australasia.
We’re looking at luxury cruise, more touring and continuing the growth in our luxury short-haul programme – having been at Attraction World before joining dnata I’m confident that my knowledge of the city break market will pay off.
Over at Gold Medal, being able to guarantee prices for Orlando packages throughout 2019 is resulting in a huge uplift in forward bookings for us, we are cautiously optimistic that this trend will continue in 2018.