Available from November 28, the service will be available both online and through easyJet’s app. The package holidays will include flights, hotels, transfers and 23kg of luggage per passenger.
EasyJet says it will offer ‘lots of peak-time holiday availability’ and ‘more weekend flying than anyone else’. Flexibility is a core part of the new service, with customers being able to tailor how many nights they want to stay, the type of accommodation and where they want to stay as well.
The team at easyJet Holidays has spent much of 2019 selecting over 5,000 hotels to partner with across more than 100 destinations. The beach hotel collections that customers can choose from include ‘Luxury’, ‘Adult’, ‘Family’ and ‘Undiscovered’, the latter for authentic accommodation a little off the beaten track. For city breaks, the hotels will be highlighting ‘Luxury’ and ‘Boutique’ collections.
Next year marks 25 years since easyJet first launched as a low-cost European carrier, and while easyJet Holidays is initially only available to customers in the UK, the plan is to expand it to Europe as well.
At a press briefing, Garry Wilson, Chief Executive of easyJet Holidays said: “We think we can come in and disrupt the holiday market the same way we disrupted the flight marker 25 years ago.”
In a statement Wilson added: “EasyJet has been a pioneer in transforming travel for almost 25 years and we want to bring that to the holidays sector.
“We know the way people travel is continuously evolving; we know customers want flexibility on when and how they holiday; we know customers want flexibility on when and how they holiday; we know they want to be able to easily pick a hotel to suit their needs and we know they want a hassle-free booking process. We’re really excited to help meet these needs with the launch of our new modern and relevant holidays business.”
The airline has also partnered with Google to create a new maps feature – meaning customers can explore the area of the hotel before they book. They can also search for a landmark or beach, say, and see hotels near these specific places. The anywhere, anytime function will also work for easyJet Holidays so customers who don’t have a specific place in mind can be inspired.
James Hardy, digital director for easyJet and easyJet Holidays, says: “We will also be launching a raft of new features over the next six months, with the aim to be the most personalised booking site in travel.”
One of these features, to be unveiled in the coming weeks, is itineraries to help inspire customers and give them ideas on how to spend their days. Originally starting with five cities, the itinerary guides will expand to more locations.
EasyJet Holidays’ first deals will be available to book from January 6, 2020 – and Wilson hinted that they will do something special to celebrate the first customer.
After Thomas Cook’s collapse last month, will easyJet Holidays be vying for the former holiday company’s customers? Wilson said: “We are launching for the customers we have at the moment who take holidays and take our flights. If there are customers who holidayed previously with Thomas Cook, we’re open to them holidaying with us.”
The new holiday package venture by easyJet is not without its critics. Chris Daly, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, told the BBC: “The airline is taking advantage of the misfortunes of others by moving into the package holiday business, filling the gap left by Thomas Cook. Expect to see a big advertising push that creates an emotional connection with consumers as the carrier tries to sell personalised packages as well as flights. The company has been shrewd in paying £36m for Thomas Cook’s runway slots at Gatwick and Bristol, but can chief executive Johan Lundgren and his team convince customers they are more than just a budget airline?”
The news came as easyJet reported a 26 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £427million to the year ending September 30.
A spokesperson for easyJet told the BBC: “The total European package holidays market is worth around £61bn per year. The UK alone is a £13bn market and has grown by 6 per cent annually.
“The way that customers are taking holidays is changing and we know customers want holidays with various durations and not the traditional seven and 14 nights.”
To find out more, visit easyjet.comholidays