A direct-sale operator has started working with agents following a successful pilot scheme.

The programme for Mercury Direct Holidays, which sells long and short-haul breaks offering three-star and above properties, is now being offered to travel agents.

The move follows a trial which saw up to 150 travel agency shops stock the brochure from July last year.

Richard Greenaway, national agency sales manager for Mercury owner Sunspot Tours, said he hoped as many as 500 agents would start working with the operator.

Mercury Direct is offering 10% commission and has pledged to never undercut agents with direct-sell prices.

Greenaway said: “We know Mercury Direct is a successful product and the trial was so successful we decided to roll it out to the trade.

“Agents like it as it is simple product in terms of how we sell it, and they like the price.

“We advertise extensively every week and if I were a travel agent I would capitalise on that as we’re driving a lot of their clients into their branches.”

Greenaway believes that by turning to the trade, the operator is bucking a trend that has seen operators and agents working less with one another.

“With the amount of dynamic packaging that agents are doing, it is giving operators very little choice but to sell direct – we’re trying to reverse that trend,” he said.