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Published on Friday, June 7, 2019

National Express to sell holiday packages and short breaks for first time


National Express has launched a tour operation to sell domestic holiday packages and short breaks in partnership with Malvern Group, the company behind Super Break and

'Holidays by National Express' offers both ready-made and tailormade packages that combine coach travel, hotels and experiences.

The company says that prices for the bundles will be on average up to 15% cheaper than if customers buy all the elements separately. It is also offering a price guarantee.

National Express UK Coach MD Chris Hardy said: "Holidays by National Express does the hard work. With the innovative new technology provided by Malvern Group, we will scan the UK for the best places to stay and things to do, from budget to boutique and cultural to culinary, so they can be booked together in one place for the best possible price.

"With an unrivalled network of scheduled coach service to over 750 locations and hundreds of hotels and attractions, we're confident of providing great value so will refund double the difference if customers can find the same deal cheaper elsewhere.

"And unlike when customers by different elements separately, there's real peace of mind with full ABTA protection and a UK customer service and booking team."

The technology and customer contact centre has been provided by Malvern Group on a revenue share basis with National Express.

Malvern executive chairman Hugo Kimber said: "This partnership shows great momentum for Malvern Group as we continue to transform the travel technology sector and deliver exceptional end-user experiences."

Speaking at the launch of Holiidays by National Express at London Zoo, Kimber (above left) said the National Express product would not compete with its Super Breaks brand as it will mostly sell direct to the consumer rather than through the trade.

National Express carries more than 20 million passengers a year. Hardy said it is expecting to sell around 500,000 packages in its first year.

"It will be mostly a B2C product, although we will make it available to travel agents in the future, but we don't have a date yet for when we'll launch an agent portal," he added.

Hardy, pictured above right, revealed National Express had been working on the product with Malvern Group for about a year, after the latter approached the company with the idea of putting together packages.

"We couldn't do this before because the technology wasn't there," he said. "Our product is quite complex because we offer so many different combinations of trips, but when Malvern approached us, we saw the potential, and this is a great time to be selling staycations.

"We've seen a drop in travel from airports - which we think might be to do with Brexit and people not travelling to the UK - but an increase in trips within the UK."

Malvern Group said it is already in discussions with other companies with a view to offering them access to the platform, which it says is unique in being able to bundle coach, hotel and attractions together in one basket. He said they were looking to work with other third parties, either on a revenue share or fee basis.

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  • Not first time

    National Express used to sell combined Coach and Hotel packages in the 90s. It was actually a great product as you used the coach ticket stock as a hotel voucher.

    By W Shearer, Friday, June 7, 2019

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