Having already visited Munster, Leinster and Dublin City agencies on behalf of Lowcostbeds and Resorthoppa, this week Grainne Caffrey is heading for the west and north-west. “We’ve had a great start to the year and agents have been very supportive – it’s all about relationships in the travel business and they know me well!” Grainne told ITTN. Lowcostbeds plans to introduce a white label solution for agents’ dynamic packaging by April.
Last week Grainne was in Dublin city centre and Wicklow / Wexford and ITTN’s Neil Steedman met her in Avondale Travel, Arklow, where Moira O’Donohoe is Lowcostbeds’ top agent in the south-east. “Agents have not been quite so busy in February,” Grainne said, “but this week is the mid-term break and agents are still optimistic that the positive start to the year will continue.
“Part of my job is to challenge agents’ habits and mindsets and to at least try Lowcostbeds. When they do the bookings come through – because we are often significantly cheaper.” Moira confirmed this by recounting a time when her computer was down and she obtained a price for a hotel in Spain through another agency – and when her computer came back online the quote from Lowcostbeds was €600 cheaper.
Clem Walshe, Managing Director Ireland for Lowcostbeds, told ITTN: “Practically every agent in Ireland is now signed up to do business with us and we are in discussions with the three consortia about preferred supplier status – we are already a preferred supplier to Worldchoice UK and Resorthoppa is already a preferred supplier to Travel Centres.
“We are strong on price, particularly for the ‘bread and butter’ destinations in Spain and Portugal served by Aer Lingus and Ryanair and to where seven out of 10 holidays are currently being sold.
“Our Resorthoppa transfers are built-in on the Lowcostbeds website as part of an agent’s search – and we pay 15% commission on bed bookings and 20% on bed + transfer bookings. There are no VAT implications because Lowcostbeds bills from Switzerland and Resorthoppa from the UK.
“Grainne Caffrey has been on the road full-time visiting agencies for us since Christmas and we now have a dedicated team of four in Ireland. Our technology is very strong and larger agencies are using XML feeds to gain direct access into our nett/gross rates etc. If they have a Micros or Multicom system, for example, it only takes a couple of days to link up.
“We are also looking at a white label solution for agents that we aim to launch by the end of April to assist in their dynamic packaging.”
Lowcostbeds’ technology searches over 50,000 hotels, from 5-star luxury to 2-star budget self-catering and last year the Lowcost Travel Group, which was established seven years ago, carried over 2,500,000 passengers. Last year Resorthoppa provided airport transfers to over 1.5 million customers, with return visitors accounting for 50% of business, and provides airport transfers in over 70 countries, operating through over 450 gateways.