Shearings is stepping up plans for growth and is developing its product portfolio following strong summer sales and in response to changing consumer patterns.
The plans include continued upgrading of its hotels, having already invested almost £8million in refurbishment over the past two years. By the end of 2017, more than half of the operator’s 4,000 hotel rooms across the UK will have been fully refurbished.
The investment follows another strong summer, in which UK passenger volumes increased by 5%, hitting a record high, and hotel occupancy rates averaged 98% over the period.
The company has also announced plans to launch a ‘Shearings Educational Experience programme’, a trade initiative created to raise awareness and increase visibility of the operator’s differentiated product portfolio, and educate agents about the host of destinations and experiences that are available to their customers across the UK and Europe.
The programme will launch early next year and will see the company work closely with relevant partners and tourist boards to offer several bespoke experience breaks for agents and their partners, which showcases the company's range of exclusive UK hotels, river cruise ships and escorted tours.
Caroline Brown, the operator's commercial director, said: “Consumer confidence appears to be on the up, and in response to this we’re constantly investing in developing and refreshing our portfolio of products to remain relevant to the over 50s market. We’re introducing a raft of enhanced added-value services to further strengthen our market position. We believe that the ability to adapt in an ever-changing market place is integral to further growth.
“We’re hoping that the launch of the Shearings Educational Experience Programme will help educate travel agents on our great range of ‘Behind the scene’ experiences including elements that are only available to Shearings customers. We believe that by allowing agents to try some of these unique products for themselves we can strengthen our market position and increase demand for our holidays.
“Other new developments include the launch of a new mobile-optimised agent website featuring improved functionality and helpful new tools, such as the single room finder. We’re also growing our presence on social media platforms such as Facebook, to drive two-way engagement with our key partners. We understand that there’s an increasing tendency to use these media channels to connect with the brand and that we need to be responding in real time.”