Key changes occur in the product portfolio of XL Leisure Group
The end of 2006 saw some key changes in the product portfolio of XL Leisure Group’s brand Travel City Direct and the establishment of a new direct-sell division in the short haul market – XL Holidays.
Travel City Direct is now 10 years old and has built an enviable reputation for its high-volume Florida programme, which in recent years has expanded to include other US destinations, plus the Caribbean and short haul Mediterranean resorts. The operator has an extremely loyal customer base and operates via dedicated call centres in Swansea and Blackpool, supported by extensive national press advertising, direct mail and colourful holiday brochures.
The successful Florida programme is operated from London Gatwick and Manchester into Orlando Sanford Airport, using dedicated 747 jumbo jets offering four classes of travel – Sunshine Economy, Sunshine Upper, Sunshine Premium (using the upper deck) and Sunshine First. Throughout the peak season, Travel City Direct flies 14 jumbo jets full of holidaymakers per week to the Sunshine State, making them the second largest tour operator to Florida. These Travel City Direct branded aircraft are operated by sister company XL Airways.
Being part of the newly renamed XL Leisure Group has opened up new opportunities to re-focus the Travel City Direct business back onto its core long haul product in Florida, expanding the Caribbean offering by further utilising sister company XL Airways charter flight programme into the region. The wider US programme offered with scheduled flights will also be expanded to include more destinations and hotel options.
The short haul destinations previously offered by Travel City Direct are being absorbed into new company XL Holidays, which will operate on the same model: direct selling to the consumer via a dedicated website and through the more traditional brochure/call centre combination.
XL Holidays will offer more than 40 destinations in its portfolio including the popular UK holiday booking choices of: Majorca, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Cyprus, Egypt, Corfu, Crete and Turkey, all flying on its sister airline, XL Airways. In a move to clearly differentiate the brand within the marketplace, XL Holidays will focus on offering prime daytime flights on the XL Airways fleet, holding dedicated seat allocations on all routes. The summer ’08 programme will see yet more innovations to further differentiate XL Holidays in this highly competitive sector.
Says Geoff Medhurst, Managing Director of XL Leisure Group Tour Operations: “We have developed a model with Travel City Direct that really works for us as a business and for our clients, many of whom come back time and time again. With the brand being so well known for its Florida and long haul product, it makes sense to now use the XL brand to expand our short haul offering, pulling on the strengths of other Group companies to offer a unique product to the consumer.”
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