An Expert View With…

JHJASON HARVEY

GROUP SALES MANAGER, Jet2.com

WHY DID YOU BECOME AN AIR TRAVEL GROUPS SPECIALIST?

I joined Channel Express in 2001, based in Bournemouth, assisting in the accounts department. I moved to the commercial department in 2002 and became heavily involved in the charter side of the business. In 2003, the company became Jet2.com. We were keen to attract groups, and required a Group Sales Manager from the very beginning. I also shared this passion and as I had assisted in the start-up of the groups department, I was delighted to be offered the role. Twelve years on, and I’m pleased to say that the department has grown significantly, offering both flight-only travel and complete group package holidays.

ARE OTHER AIRLINES INTERESTED IN GROUPS – WHAT DISTINGUISHES JET.COM’S OFFERS?

Some other airlines have a group offer but not with the flexibility we have regarding payment terms. From day one, Jet2.com has always offered the group booking facility. Over the years, we have listened to clients and sought to improve our proposition. One of the key challenges for airlines is the actual handling of group bookings. Our online group booking channel is, in my opinion, the best in the business. We also offer extended opening times and a freephone telephone number. We aim to be the friendliest airline for groups and the Jet2.com groups team is proud to be the current winner of ‘Best Airline for Groups’ at the Group Travel Awards.

HOW CAN GTOS ACCESS THE BEST PRICE DEAL?

Contrary to belief, we actually look individually at all the group requests that come in and it’s not a big computer sending out prices without a thought process. The price you see for one person online is not directly related to the price you will pay for your group of 50 passengers. We work very closely with our revenue team and will offer groups the best rate that we can, analysing the route and expected load factors. The best deals are likely to go to those who book early. It is worth a proper personal discussion about your requirements.

WHAT OTHER BENEFITS ARE THERE IN BOOKING AS A GROUP?

We offer a low deposit of £30 per person, so if groups book early enough, their members can potentially have a whole year to save for their holiday! Once a booking has been made, group organisers can log into their profile and make part payments towards the balance as funds become available. Complimentary airport check-in and seating together are also benefits. We also know that things can change when travelling in a big group. Our clients can add or amend their group names free of charge up to 14 days before their flight.

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE CAN A GROUP BOOK AND HOW CAN GTOS ACHIEVE THE BEST OUTCOME?

Flights go on sale approximately one year in advance. Schedule changes are rare and we try to minimise the impact it has on our customers. Changes to flight times or routes are only ever made when unavoidable, and are generally outside our control. Should this happen, we’ll always try to give as much notice as possible. As GTO goes to print, we will be in the process of launching flights for summer 2016. My advice is, as always, to book early. Our regulars are already asking for availability for next summer! Group organisers should simply call us to speak directly to our groups team. They are very knowledgeable and can offer advice about alternative dates that may be cheaper than the requested option, and other destinations too. Complete fully ATOL-protected holiday packages are also available from Jet2.com and Jet2holidays groups teams.

Jason has worked in the aviation industry for over 14 years. During this time, he’s arranged the flights for many GTOs as well as Premiership teams, top RFL teams and even Wayne Rooney’s stag group! That’s not forgetting overseeing trips for top orchestras and making sure that their bassoons are safely onboard!

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