The boss of VIVID Travel is “accelerating” plans to recruit travel agency partners following Thomas Cook’s decision to scrap price parity for agents from December 21.

Kane Pirie, founder and managing director of the upmarket operator, said he had already planned to launch an agency programme in January but is now actively seeking agents.

“I do not understand how travel agents can make their business work if they do not have price parity,” he said.

Pirie commented online under Travel Weekly’s article about Thomas Cook’s controversial decision, saying VIVID Travel is “happy to promise price parity”.

“I don’t see how agents have a chance otherwise,” he added.

Agents have already been in touch with Pirie and he will approach other suitable agencies to set up agreements, offering an “attractive level of commission”, training and marketing support.

Since its launch in November 2017, VIVID Travel has grown to employ 40 staff in London, and is forecasting turnover of £10 million in 2019.

“We are trading well, despite Brexit, and going from strength to strength,” he said.

Until now, VIVID Travel has sold direct to consumers and will continue with its B2C model, but Pirie said there is “definite demand” for B2B sales.

Pirie said that he and his business partner Adam Gill understand the travel agency mindset thanks to their previous experience at online travel agent Travel Republic.

He anticipates being selective about agency partners, and will sign up between 10 and 20 over the course of 2019.

As the operator specialises in tailormade, upmarket holidays in Asia, Latin America and Africa, he will seek partners who work in that sector and understand the need for the “personal touch”.

“We will have a small number of high-quality agents who understand our products and offer a personalised level of expert service,” said Pirie.

Thomas Cook scraps price parity for agents

Comment: ‘Not my fault’

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