Hays IG members encouraged to boost margins and discount less

The bosses of Hays Travel Independence Group have urged members to curb discounting and increase their profit margins to boost their bottom line.

Delegates at the group’s overseas conference in Portugal heard from Dame Irene Hays, chair of Hays Travel, and Jonathon Woodall-Johnston, chief operating officer, about ways to “focus on profit”, especially as wages, business rates and costs are rising quickly.

Jonathon Woodall-Johnston cautioned members from rounding prices down to discount holidays and advised them to sell more ancillary products and insurance.

“Small marginal changes make big differences to the bottom line,” he said, advising agent members to target a profit margin of 11%.

He urged them to give more support to the “right suppliers” who offer enhanced commission rates and to avoid “initiating” talk of discounts in marketing and advertising messages.

“Do we need to do that? Do we need to be drawn in?” he asked delegates at the conference taking place at the Epic Sana Hotel near Albufeira.

“Sell yourself on service, do not undercut yourself,” he said.

“Ask yourself, do you need to price match?

“Focus on the product mix…and use supplier promo codes.”

He said one Hays IG member who had diversified into cruise had transformed their business, commenting: “Customers who book long-haul or cruise generally book with an agent.”

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