Lowcostbeds.com, at its annual dinner last night in Dobbins restaurant for travel agents and media, announced a 45% increase in turnover from Irish travel agents for the 2013 season year to date.
Clem Walshe, Managing Director Ireland & North America, said: “Some 26% more Irish travel agents are now doing business with lowcostbeds than at this time last year, which is a very positive reflection on the brand’s popularity with the Irish travel trade. We are no longer ‘the new guys’ – agents know and trust us, the product has improved on a global scale, and we offer competitive prices.
“We are very pleased with the growth we have enjoyed in Ireland, I honestly believe the key to maintaining our on-going success is to continue to listen to the trade and work closely with them to ensure we improve our levels of product and service while still remaining competitive.
“We advertise in the travel trade media, entertain agents, and offer incentives for agency staff including iPads and vouchers – and we will be running a fam trip to the Costa Blanca in the coming weeks.
“We are not perfect and in some respects have been the victim of our own success, but we are good at listening and we are improving the service for the benefit of everyone involved.
“Spain is our backbone and we have a really strong product – Spain was responsible for 48% of all sales, with destinations such as Lanzarote, Costa del Sol, Majorca and Gran Canaria selling particularly well. Ireland’s love affair with Spain will continue. Our long-haul product has improved dramatically and now covers 45 countries, including the USA, Canada, Brazil, Russia and the UAE.
“Agents should take a look at our whole product offering. Lowcostbeds is one of the fastest growing online companies on the planet and we can also help travel agencies to develop their own online product – all you need to do is ask.”
36,000 Agents Worldwide
Alex Gisbert, International Managing Director, added: “This time last year we operated in 13 countries and now in 45 countries, while travel agent numbers have increased over that 12 months from 13,000 to 36,000. I am particularly proud of our expansion in Brazil and the Middle East – while Clem ‘Captain America’ Walshe is doing a great job in the USA and launching in Canada this month!
“Ours is a high volume, slim margin business that needs huge investment and effort. For example, we have increased our buyers from nine last year to 17 currently.
“Each market has its own characteristics. Ireland, for example, races with Italy to have the highest amount of calls per booking – the Irish and Italians love to talk! – and Ireland produces the most special requests, while Italians’ priority is a hairdryer and for Americans it is free wi-fi.
“More and more of your customers are coming in and showing you on their smartphone what price they have from booking.com and we are helping you compete with that – indeed, how do you respond?”
To which Richard Cullen of Killiney Travel immediately responded: “Get the **** out of my office!”