Villa operators have reported a rise in enquiries from agents and potential new recruits after offering to save bookings and jobs following the sudden closure of James Villas.
Rival specialists stepped in to help as agents raised supply concerns after news European holiday rentals business Awaze had closed its James Villas brand on October 30, putting 40 roles at risk.
All bookings from November 30 have been cancelled, affecting around 100 trade sales, and no new bookings taken from October 30.
A week on, Solmar Villas has seen a 65% hike in enquiries from agents desperate to secure new bookings for clients.
Marketing director Sharon Bradbury said the company had moved fast to “remove the stress and worry” caused by James Villas’ closure.
“We’ve been able to help the majority of agents by securing the original villa on the original dates,” she said, adding: “We encourage any agents that haven’t spoken to us yet to get in touch, even if they have never worked with us before.”
The operator has already secured 300 of James Villas’ cancelled properties, with more of its former properties “being added daily”.
Oliver’s Travels reported it had been contacted by a “handful of agents” about cancelled bookings after it offered a 5% discount to those affected.
Co-founder Oliver Bell said it was a goodwill gesture, adding: “We want to support in any way we can. Our team is on hand to help with the rebooking of similar holidays.”
SPL Villas managing director Edward Frampton-Fell, who used to be part of the senior team at James Villas, said the company had been contacted by “a number of ex-James Villas staff” after inviting them to get in touch about jobs.
He said: “We’re interviewing some this week. We’re looking to fill about half a dozen roles in our customer operations team.”
He also urged agents to get in touch, saying the company planned “significant, trade-friendly enhancements” with a view to “reinforcing and expanding those relationships” in 2024.
Meanwhile, villa and boutique hotel specialist Simpson Travel brought forward news of its agent‑only portal, to be rolled out in the next month.
Head of trade sales Hannah Naylor-Vane said: “We know there is demand for trade-friendly villa specialists, something that is likely to increase with the sad news about James Villas.”
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