A US-based luxury online travel company that recently launched in the UK is on the look-out for travel agent partners to sell its inventory.
Luxury Link Travel Group’s CEO Scott Morrow told Travel Daily the company is keen to talk with high street and call centre-based travel agencies to distribute its discounted rates for luxury boutique hotels.
Luxury Link launched its own UK website just 10 days ago offering its own negotiated rates with luxury hotels which it deals with directly. Sitting between the online travel agency (OTA) and flash sale models, Luxury Link contracts its deals for a year and offers phone support to provide more than a search or transaction-style website.
“The UK is the market that searches for luxury hotels the most online and in addition to the hotel contracts we already had in place for our US website, it felt like the right time to launch a website in the UK,” Morrow told Travel Daily. “Our website romanticises travel and aims to inspire visitors who are free to dream for a bit then make that booking.”
Comparing itself to the likes of Conde Nast for content, Luxury Link is focused on technology but also recognises the importance of more traditional channels.
“We want our booking system to be integrated into GDS so we can work with our hotel partners’ reservation systems better and will use technology to leverage those partnerships,” he said. “Rather than be a technology company in the travel space we want to apply the technology to the travel agent expertise. Our team has an enormous amount of travel experience, but we also have the technology there too.”
Morrow believes it is this forward thinking that could see travel agents sell its inventory, which is often negotiated to half of regular rates.
Initial conversations have been met with caution or concern, but Morrow is open to discussions and said the company will not take away an agents’ business.
“We are not trying to attack businesses but help them evolve,” he explained. “It is in the early days but I’m committed to finding a partner and test how this could work as there is a huge opportunity for traditional players.”
Raising brand awareness is currently top priority for Morrow but plans are in the pipeline to expand in Europe, China and Australia.