Shock tactics in marketing are always a risk. They invariably get people’s attention – but that attention doesn’t necessarily translate into sales.

This week, we report on a new Hays IG member who is taking a novel approach to standing out from the crowd. We will watch with interest to see if customers are persuaded to book with LingsWings.

Inevitably, there will be those who won’t approve of the controversial approach taken by some companies – especially the agents who have worked their whole lives to gain experience and trust.

So are these new-to-travel entrepreneurs creating a buzz that will ultimately benefit the wider industry, or are they giving established travel professionals a bad name?

At last week’s Travel Convention in Seville, I moderated a session during which retailers asked a very similar question, flagging the rise of “pyramid-style” models from the US through which people with no travel experience are recruited to sell holidays to friends and family.

And on my return to the office, I took a call from another experienced agent who expressed their frustration at the number of agents taking to social media to ask for (free) advice on the most basic travel enquiries.

Nobody wants to stifle innovation and creativity – and there are plenty of examples of disruptive methods and channels becoming established in the industry.

But you can understand why the many talented, knowledgeable and dedicated agents who have worked so hard to overcome the false perception of them as ‘middlemen’ or even ‘rip-off merchants’ will be concerned that the reputation of the trade could soon be in the line of fire again.

Comment from Travel Weekly, October 18 edition