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Niall McDonnell is Head of Sales – Ireland for Classic Collection Holidays

Niall McDonnell is Head of Sales – Ireland for Classic Collection Holidays

The trade-friendly, specialist luxury tour operator Classic Collection Holidays has announced plans to start a dedicated programme out of Ireland for 2016 – with Niall McDonnell as Head of Sales – Ireland.

Niall McDonnell is delighted to be teaming up once again with Nick and many of his former colleagues from his Panorama days. “I am very excited about the launch of the Classic brand here in Ireland. I know that this high-quality product will be well received and I am looking forward to support from the trade nationwide.”

Classic has been operating successfully since 1988 offering luxury tailor-made holidays to traditionally popular resorts in Europe and North Africa. Owned by current managing director, Nick Munday, since 2002, turnover at the West Sussex-based firm rose to £63 million in 2015 with operating profits standing at £3.2 million. Last year Classic Collection Holidays was voted best luxury operator at the Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards in addition to numerous accolades from various trade associations and publications including AITO, TTG, Travel Bulletin and Travel Weekly.

Nick Munday has fond memories of tour operating in Ireland; it was under his direction that Panorama Holidays first chartered flights to Tunisia, Ibiza and Andorra back in the early 1990s, and he is delighted to once again join forces with Niall McDonnell, this time to sell at the luxury, more tailor-made end of the market. “We have managed to build our brand here in the UK to such an extent that we have become the operator of choice for agents selling luxury short-haul in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and, due to a radical investment in a dual pricing reservations system, we are now perfectly placed to sell holidays with flights out of Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Shannon and Knock,” he said.

“We have selected our most popular properties for the new programme and our overseas hotelier partners have shown a very keen interest in working with us in the Irish market, backing us with additional room allocations and favourable rates. Many hotels have been working with Classic since the early days and we enjoy a great reputation for bringing high quality, high spend customers to these fantastic properties.”

To meet increasing demand for luxury short-haul holidays out of Ireland, a dedicated 228-page Classic summer brochure, featuring 4-star and 5-star hotel holidays in Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, Portugal, Madeira, Italy, Malta and Gozo, Croatia, Greece and Turkey will be distributed to the trade in February.

To offer customers a flexible choice of departure airport and holiday duration, the operator will be offering flights from Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Knock and Shannon with a choice of scheduled, charter and no frills airlines; holiday prices automatically include private transfers in resort for arrival and departure. All holidays purchased through the operator will be fully protected by the Commission for Aviation Regulation under licence number TA0649.

Eager to maintain its reputation as a provider of competitively priced high quality holidays, the operator is continuing with its front cover ‘Price Promise’ message whereby it guarantees to match the price of any identical holiday offered by another tour operator.

Classic’s offices are staffed by an expert reservations team until 10.00pm every evening and (from 1st February) can be contacted on 01 541 3000. Although promoting itself via a state-of-the-art informative website, Classic does not sell online. “Typical Classic customers are prosperous individuals wanting the best that their money can buy and we service their requirements by talking to their agents about various room upgrade options and specific flight requirements, rather than sending them online,” said Nick. “Our strengths lie in our flexibility of duration, airport departure and availability of various rooms and suites, plus we can guarantee specific requests such as interconnecting rooms in the majority of our featured properties. Also, because of the flexibility of our product and the expert knowledge of our reservations team, our twin and multi-centre options have grown in popularity to become a major part of the business.”

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

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