Chairwoman Jane Atkins tells Juliet Dennis how Tipto has swelled agent numbers at its roadshows and her plans for the future

Agents’ attendance of Tipto roadshows has increased by more than a quarter in the past year.

The total number of agents attending roadshows was up 27% for the 12 months to August 31, the organisation’s 18th year.

Part of the rise was attributed to a focus on increasing the number of homeworkers at roadshows, chairwoman Jane Atkins said.

Just short of 400 homeworkers visited Tipto (Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisation) roadshows in the year, up 30% year on year, and homeworkers accounted for 22% of attendants.

Atkins, in her second year as chairwoman, said: “I was trying to get more homeworkers. They are the most difficult people for suppliers to interact with because they are not on the high street.”

Independent agents make up the lion’s share of roadshow delegates. But the number of agents from multiples has increased since a 2015 shake-up to increase attendance and they now account for 14% of attendees.

Tipto’s latest survey showed 99% of agents rated its Face2Face roadshows as good or excellent, while 96% gave the same rating for its SuperShows.


The next roadshow is on November 1 in Worcester.

Future SuperShows will be slightly shorter with less entertainment following trade feedback, while Ginger Juice founder Bruce Martin will run social media presentations.

Silversea and Cosmos/Avalon have joined this year, while suppliers USAirtours, MSC Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and AmaWaterways have left. Tipto now has 21 supplier members, with another about to join, compared with 23 last year.

Atkins, managing director of Shearings, remains keen to attract a winter sports operator and is in talks with two interested suppliers.

Agents reported some large bookings as a result of attending roadshows, including a £14,000 Travelpack sale, a £38,000 Great Rail Journeys booking and a £13,500 deal for Olympic Holidays.

“This is what Tipto is all about; it’s a real illustration of how going to a roadshow makes a difference to your business,” said Atkins.

Ambassadors will steer future events

Tipto is creating up to 10 travel agent ambassadors to give regular feedback in conference calls on how Tipto is run, helping to shape its events and roadshows.


Agents can nominate themselves. Tipto will choose ambassadors in November.

Chairwoman Jane Atkins said: “I want to make Tipto great value for suppliers but I also have to deliver something for agents.” Rewards for Tipto ambassadors could include invites to VIP travel industry events, she added.

“We want to know what’s great about Tipto, what’s missing and what we could do better. Hopefully agents will come up with ideas for us.”

Tipto roadshows before Christmas

Nov-01 Worcester Roadshow Sixways Stadium
Nov-02 Shrewsbury Roadshow Mercure Shrewsbury Albrighton Hall Hotel
Nov-14 Hemel Hempstead Roadshow Shendish Manor Hotel
Nov-15 Ipswich Roadshow Ipswich Town FC
Nov-22 Peterborough Roadshow Marriott
Nov-23 Lincoln Roadshow Best Western Bentley Hotel
Nov-28 Chester Training Day Crowne Plaza
Nov-29 Sheffield Training Day Hilton
Nov-30 Hull Training Day Village Hotel
Dec-07 Exeter Training Day Mercure Southgate
Dec-08 Birmingham Training Day Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport