Friday, November 11, 2005

Sabre deal pays dividends as lastminute expand product

Dynamic packaging will overtake sales of pre-packaged deals for lastminute as early as next year as the tie-up with Sabre begins to show tangible benefits, according to holidays and flights director John Bevan.
He said the split is currently 50/50 but forecast self-packaged deals to surpass the traditional market during 2006.
Bevan told Travolution that dynamically packaged long haul sales were picking up along with short breaks to the Mediterranean.
He added that Sabre’s global reach was enabling lastminute to quickly expand its own product into areas it is currently weak.
“There are big numbers coming through for dynamic packaging. It has worked well for city breaks because it’s simple product to buy but we are now finding long haul coming through,” he said.
Bookings are for what he described as “easy destinations” such as the Caribbean where people tend to stay put in one location.
“We have strong links with the low cost carrier and are also seeing more shorter stay breaks in the Spanish islands,” Bevan added.
Lastminute is also continuing to shake-off the image as dealing only in next week departures with the average DP booking made four weeks in advance.
“Top searches are for early December and January. It is not just people looking for next weekend,” said Bevan.
But he stressed it has not lost sight of the last minute shopper looking for a break or for an 11th hour birthday gift, describing it as “something we are proud of.”
Turning to the deal with Sabre, Bevan said it has given lastminute more scope to expand.
“Sabre has a global contracting team and has guys all over the world contracting and we can tap into this source. They will also contract specifically for the UK market. It is allowing us to expand much quicker into area such as the Far East and Australasia.”
Despite the growth of its in-house product, Bevan insisted it would always work with third party operators to ensure a variety of product. He added lastminute had no intention of adopting the direction selling model of its off-line counterparts.

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