“If the first 10 days of January are anything to go by then 2013 is going to be a great year for the Irish travel business!” So said Clem Walshe, Managing Director Ireland and North America for lowcostbeds, who is absolutely buoyant about the prospects for 2013 after what he describes as a record-breaking first 10 days of January for the bedbank provider.
“It is easy to talk about growth when you are coming from a standing start. We are absolutely delighted with the support we have had from the trade since we launched in Ireland two years ago and in some ways that made it difficult for us to predict the level of growth we would actually see in 2013.
“Our record-breaking start to 2013 is down to a number of factors. More agency sales staff are familiar with our website – and they like the fact that it is user friendly, fast and reliable. They know we have a wide-ranging, competitively priced product and a great trade support team to back it up. More agents have signed up to our XML platform, our commercial terms are very attractive and many established agencies have now accepted the benefits of working with a big financially stable partner to help develop their DP business.”
Clem is also quite upbeat about the prospects for the industry for the coming year, and suggests that we have turned a corner and that it is time to look to the future. “There has been far too much talk about doom and gloom in our industry; it’s time for us to move on. People are still travelling and look forward to getting away from all this bad weather and negativity more than ever. Collectively, as an industry, we need to get a positive message out there that we are open for business and ready to assist our customers book that well-earned getaway in 2013.”
The Swiss-based bedbank is currently making major investments in a new structure that will adopt a global approach towards the future buying and distribution of lowcostbeds. This will see the company targeting over 75 countries in the next thee years as it looks to achieve a €1 billion revenue target within that period.
“We have recruited additional overseas buyers in order to grow our direct contracts in the cities, long-haul and short-haul markets,” added Clem. “There are currently 250,000 hotels available through our XML and website worldwide and 12,000 of these properties are contracted directly, which ensures that we continue to provide agents with the very best rates available.”
Lowcostbeds is now established in 15 countries across Europe and its property portfolio is currently translated in 11 languages. Clem Walshe is responsible for the brand’s recent launch in the USA, which heralds the start of a worldwide expansion and reorganisation that is aiming to make lowcostbeds one of the top five global beds providers within the next three years.