French Leave Holidays John Robin founders

Stronger trade strategy part of French Leave Holidays relaunch

French Leave Holidays has relaunched with the aim to establish itself as the “go to” operator for French breaks, helping agents to tap into the bespoke and immersive travel market.

Founding directors Robin Segal and John Markham said: “We identified a gap in the market for quality holidays to one of the UK’s most visited and favourite destination. France is surprisingly underrepresented in travel agencies and the response to our research indicates that there’s a healthy demand. Nearly 13 million Brits holiday in France every year and we want to make it easier for agents to offer the world’s most popular country to their clients. It’s such a beautiful and diverse destination with a ton of things to see, do and enjoy.”

The tour operator offers air, self-drive and rail packages with the financial protection of its Travel Trust Association membership and ATOL licence. Both directors also have a wealth of experience between them.

Markham, an ex-sales director at Preston Travel Group, reiterated the importance of travel agents, saying: “B2B distribution is vital to our business model. Our product is largely high end and bespoke and there’s no better platform to communicate our holidays to clients than through the intermediary of a trusted agent. We view this a key route to market, and we intend to nurture this relationship with price parity and formulating a trade strategy”.

Segal, whose first job in tourism was at French Leave Holidays in the early 80’s, and more recently was head of market development for the Jersey Tourist Board, also worked at the Rail Europe & French Travel Service. He added: “The rebirth of the French Leave Holidays brand will resonate with clients who will still remember us as the leading operator for holidays to France. Our ambitions are conservative, our product isn’t aimed at the volume market but more for the discerning traveller looking for a bespoke and immersive experience. Our aim is to eventually gain first-hand knowledge of all our products to be able to relay our personal experiences to our clients and where we’ve yet to visit, we have at least established a face to face relationship with the supplier which forms the basis of our product selection”.

As an example of some of the products available, the operator offers self-piloted boat holidays on France’s extensive network of rivers and canals, river cruises in partnership with AMAWaterways, self-guided Walking & Cycling Holidays including Corsica, Golf Breaks, Wellness Retreats, Food & Wine Breaks, City Discoveries and Family Holidays.

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