Agents slam Black Friday travel deals

Agents slam Black Friday travel deals

Independent agents have threatened to stop selling operators that are offering Black Friday discounts to direct customers.

Thomas Cook is offering £200 off online or in-store bookings of £1,000 or more until November 28, while Tui has teased some “sensationally good-value deals” for direct customers to be released around the American pre‑Christmas discount day.

Some agents hit out on social media. One said she cancelled sending out a promotional email with Cook’s offers after seeing the consumer-facing discount.

Another wrote: “The only thing that will stop this is if agents refuse to promote or give business to suppliers who undercut by selling direct and make it clear this is why those suppliers are losing business.”

Chris Bailey, owner of Bailey’s Travel, said independents should focus on higher-margin products instead.

“If they [Thomas Cook and Tui] want to get some traction back in the travel agent community, this offer is clearly counter-productive,” he said. “They need the independents.”

But homeworker Laura Featonby said: “If you spend three days on a booking and your customer comes back with a [discount] code I can see why you’d be fed up, but when it’s Thomas Cook and it’s not much work you might as well take the booking and move on.

“You might only make a tenner but that customer might make a £10,000 booking next time.”

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook confirmed the discount codes were applicable only to direct-sell customers, but said “a number of measures” were in place to help agents reduce prices.

Tui said its Black Friday deals were available for “selected” third‑party agents to sell.

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