Holiday with IGLU
1st October 2011
It claims to have one of the widest choices, some of the most knowledgable staff and certainly the best prices. The Online travel agent is doing well while others are doing badly in the tough economic climate. But what exactly is an online travel agent?
The idea is simple.
The online travel agent takes the holidays from a wide variety of tour operators, negotiates some special rates and then sells them on to the customer passing on the discount.
The skier or snowboarder is offered the widest possible choice of holiday, the tour operator makes a sale and the on-line travel agent is paid by the tour operator and so makes some money.
As it is all on-line, and over the telephone, then the costs are kept down.
There are no glossy brochures and no need to have expensive shops in the high street with all the associated overheads.
“It’s a very simple idea but an amazing number of people don’t quite understand what we do,” the marketing manager of IGLU, Sarah Strang, told PlanetSKI.
“They mistakenly think we own chalets, employ the staff and run charter airlines. We don’t. We get the best possible holidays and offers from the tour operators and pass them on to skiers and snowboarders.”
The company was recently highlighted in a survey by The Daily Telepgraph as a medium-sized business that was doing well despite the tough economic climate and hard trading conditions. The snowsports industry has been espcially badly hit by the economic downturn with sales down 25% in the past few years.
IGLU though is managing to do well according to the survey, that we reported on at the time here on PlanetSKI.
This month, in October, there are some special offers on a range of holidays.
There is a discount of £125 per person + 2 for 1 Ski & Boot Hire in some self-catering Chalets & Chalet Hotels in St Anton, Val d’Isére, Tignes, Meribel & many more. Prices start from £416 per person and can be combined with a group discount where the 6th person in a group goes free.
There are some great pre-Xmas holidays at the high altitude resorts too.
There are further offers from IGLU in our deals and discounts section on PlanetSKI.
Iglu started with just a handful of operators, but now deals with well over 90% of the British market and is the biggest company of its type selling tens of thousands of holidays each winter.
The client is not charged for the service and our costs are passed on to the tour operators so the price of the holiday is kept down.
“The customer does not pay us, but the tour operator does, and that is the great benefit,” said James Box, the commercial and financial analyst for IGLU. “Booking with us comes at no extra charge to you.”
That cost is obviously passed on in some way to the client but for many operators it is spread over all the holidays offered and not just passed on to the people who book with companies like IGLU.
IGLU started off back in 1998 and is the brains of its founder and current CEO, Richard Downs.
He came up with the idea while a student at the London Business School and as he was writing a project for a business development course. As a keen skier he thought that it might actually be fun to put it into practice.
They rest, as they say, is history.
“At the time there was alot of curiosity about the idea, but much scepticism from the busness world,” says Downs. “Remember this was the late 1990s and though people were buying books and small itmes on line they weren’t purchasing larger items like a ski holiday,” said Richard Downs.
IGLU took off immediately and in 2000 the offices transferred to Wimbledon in South West London, where they still are.
The company does its own IT, marketing and other activities thus keeping costs down and indirectly passing on the savings to the customers.“Some of our staff work full time and many others come back on a seasonal basis, but the most important thing is that they are really keen skiers or snowboarders with a detailed knowledge of the ski resorts and the products the tour operators have,” said James Box.
That is the true strength of IGLU.
The staff know the resorts and the industry well and are not simply offering the holidays of one operator.
If you go to say Inghams then they will obviously sell you an Inghams holiday, but if you go to IGLU then will only sell you a holiday with a particular operator if they think it is the best one for you.
At present there is no plan to sell the holiday only on-line as this removes the expert personal advice for which the company is known.
Instead it is best to search on-line have a few ideas and then when you telephone through you will be steered in the right direction.
A growing number of people are turning way from travelling independently and making their own arrangements.
More people seem to want the security of a package holiday and the value it offers.
Using someone like IGLU might be your best option for this coming winter.
IGLU is a main partner of PlanetSKI.
For the spirit of the mountains