Cosmos and sister brand Avalon Waterways are more than doubling the size of their joint sales team by making five appointments in a “commitment to the trade”.

Sales director Janet Parton says the new eight-person team will be able to make 4,500 branch visits across 80 agencies in 2019.

Currently, the sales team deals with 37 agencies, but have not been able to make any branch visits.

Business development managers Anna Hall, Kelly Calver and Danielle Radford will be joined by three on-the-road sales team members, plus two office-based positions – a new business manager and an inside agency sales role.

Once the new team is in place, two sales team members will visit each of the three regions Cosmos and Avalon Waterways covers – north, central and south.

Parton said: “The expansion is a commitment to the trade. Travel agents are vitally important to us.

“We couldn’t do what we wanted with only three sales team members. We have new products next year so we need more people out there talking to travel agents.

“We need more visibility in stores to help agents do the training and learn about the product.”

Parton plans to have all five new staff members starting a six-week induction next month with a view to them starting on January 2.

“I have wanted to increase our sales team for the last two years,” she said. “This year we are trying to work on our distribution because we know we need to service our travel agents correctly.”

Parton has interviewed nearly 30 candidates for the five roles after receiving more than 100 applications.

Both Cosmos and Avalon Waterways’ trade portals have been upgraded this month so agents can access deals, campaign information, e-shots and contact details. Previously, agents could only make bookings on the portals.