Lessons learnt for new operator says Anatolian Sky founder – TTG

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Akin Koc unveiled luxury specialist Diamond Sky Holidays earlier this week, telling TTG agents will be “vital” to its success when it begins selling next month.

The Solihull-based firm specialises in small ship cruises around the Adriatic and Greek Islands as well as tailor-made holidays to Croatia, Montenegro, Turkey and Northern Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, Morocco and Egypt and Jordan. It will also operate its own online travel agency, Diamond Sky Travel, to offer clients product through third party suppliers it does not yet offer.

Koc said he had “refined” the product and destinations previously sold by Anatolian Sky – including Turkey, Northern Cyprus and Croatia – to suit a more “upmarket” clientele.

Koc is also eying expansion into long-haul with safari holidays to Tanzania, South Africa and Kenya on the cards, as well as destinations such as Mauritius, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, the Seychelles and Cuba.

Koc attributed the failure of Anatolian Sky to “too much commitment” in its top-selling destination of Turkey, which suffered a decline in UK visitors last year following a series of terror attacks and periods of political instability.

“Now we will have much more diverse product which puts quality over quantity and makes us a lot more agile,” said Koc.

He confided that he went through “a difficult time” personally following Anatolian Sky’s failure and even considered leaving the travel industry all together, but said ultimately it was his “true passion”.

Koc said the business will move into a new office by the end of November, where its sales, reservations, marketing and administration teams will be based.

He is also aiming to create a homeworking network to grow sales, with three team members due to start at the end of next month.

Meanwhile, a mini brochure will be sent out, and an online agent portal created for the trade: “At Anatolian, agents made up just under 50% of sales so we want to reach those levels again and work with the agents who supported us so well for so long.”

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