An Expert View With…

Mrs WilsonJEANNE WILSON

MANAGING DIRECTOR, DAISH’S GROUP

How do you tailor your offer to serve the groups market?

We believe we can provide the best group experience by offering package holidays that include transport to and from our UK resort hotels, with live entertainment included every night. Our hotels are on the Isle of Wight, Torquay, Eastbourne, Newquay and Bournemouth. Our 18 strong fleet of 49-seater coaches provides travel to and from our hotels from all major regions across the UK; each route has several different pickup points and every coach has a designated regular driver. We aim to be flexible in our approach to groups! Although we offer a standard five-day holiday package comprising coach travel and four nights in the hotel, the company is also happy to create bespoke group itineraries, and we welcome groups who organise their own coach travel, offering a free room for the driver. Daish’s Holidays operates all sales in-house and we have a centralised booking office and reservations system.

What special themes and group itineraries do you offer?

Daish’s Holidays offers seasonal breaks such as the Christmas themed ‘Turkey and Tinsel’ holiday throughout November and December, plus special interest holidays including options for bowls groups to all our hotels. Thanks to our partnerships with local clubs and county associations, Daish’s can set up tournaments and provide a tailored event complete with bowls itinerary. We also have group holidays for gardening groups and rambling associations. Our Garden Tour packages offer tailor-made programmes to suit both general and gardening groups. Our holidays can be scheduled with a five-day itinerary with a different theme each day.  All of our hotels are surrounded by gardens and natural beauty making them perfect locations for ramblers and gardeners!

What new elements of group holiday arrangements are emerging? Are there significant differences compared to when you started 35 years ago?

When we were just starting out we only offered rooms for groups to stay in. Now we provide travel too, and cater for different kinds of groups, including bespoke itineraries specific to individual groups. The main product differences with 35 years ago are the flexibility and choices we can now offer. Group holidays used to be a quite small groups of people, whereas now we deal with parties ranging from 20  to groups that can book up a whole hotel!  The booking process has been shifting to predominantly on-line for the past decade, as the internet has become easily accessible for everyone. It is completely different to when we started. Many of our customers still book over the phone, however.

Jeanne Wilson formed Daish’s holidays in 1979 when she bought the Daish’s hotel in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight.  The decision to add coach travel was made in 1984. Today, the company runs 18 coaches and over 60,000 holidays in their original five hotels and in December added two more hotels in Weymouth to their portfolio.