Kuoni marketing boss: Brexit and terror will never undermine UK's thirst for travel

Neither the weak pound nor security threats will be enough to turn Brits away from international adventures, the marketing director of premium travel company Kuoni told Campaign, as it prepares the launch a visually distinctive TV campaign on Christmas Day.

"We did feel the effect of a nervous public" following terrorist attacks such as the bombings in Paris last November, said Dean Harvey, "but the British public are quite resilient."

And since the referendum in June, after which the pound plummeted against the dollar, Kuoni had not seen a downturn in bookings, he added. "The holiday is one of the last things to go."

The challenge for travel companies, Harvey said, was to demonstrate the ability to provide holidays that catered to consumer needs that might be changed by the economic or political climate. Travellers whose budgets have been squeezed by the falling pound present an opportunity for all-inclusive trips which can make it easier for them to budget, he said.

The new campaign, "Out of the ordinary", created by Brighton-based agency Designate, aims to profile the breadth of trips offered by Kuoni.

It features a swimmer moving through a series of backdrops – including an island in the Maldives, African plains and an Italian piazza – which are created by manipulating still photographs. The ad was directed by Luke Losey and features an original track by Paul Hartnoll from electronic act Orbital.

Harvey said that Kuoni was primarily known for the Maldives, an association that was holding back its ability to increase business with existing consumers by getting them to consider it for other types of holidays – especially short haul trips.

"Kuoni owns more stores than Apple – over 50," said Harvey. "The brand has some traction, but our research has shown that people only know us for special occasions or long haul. We’re able to sell quite a wide range of products, from Europe to the Maldives to cruises. We wanted to have our customers come back on a more frequent basis."

The TV spot will be supported by digital, social and press, with a sale booklet going out in The Times and The Daily Telegraph in January.

Harvey predicted that after two decades in which low-cost airlines have driven the growth of the travel industry, package holidays would start to make a comeback as consumers reevaluate their priorities.

"We think the novelty of planning your own holiday is fading," he said. "It’s become such a protracted process, and you’re never quite sure you’ve made the right choice."

He acknowledged that package holidays suffered from "image problems", but said that travel providers were working to shift the emphasis of their offer from merely convenience, to expertise and recommendation.

"We’re investing significantly in our retail store networks and partnerships with the trade. We encourage people to get off our website and speak to us – that recommendation aspect of what we do differentiates us from a number of players."

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