Club Med has come under fire for undercutting the trade on group deals site Groupon.co.uk.
A deal went live yesterday (Wednesday) offering direct customers a £20 voucher worth £250 towards Club Med holidays in Florida, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. Customers had 36 hours in which to book the deal.
Nick McKay, managing director of Clapham-based travel agency Travel Designers, said: "Once again this is a deal agents don't have access to and we can't compete on it. Club Med has a group of really good agents, so why don't they work with us to push these resorts? You're either agent friendly or you're not."
Stuart De Bourgogne, Club Med agency sales manager for UK and Ireland, defended the move. "We have got certain destinations that are proving difficult to sell, so we are working on different activities to push these resorts. This was the first time we have used Groupon and it was a test for us."
He added: "Next week we will have a special offer that is available to the trade."
- The business case for that Club Med Groupon deal (Web Editor's Blog)
De Bourgogne said the trade was still a big focus for the all-inclusive specialist. The company has recently added Nikki Howarth and Danny Joel to its regional sales team, covering the South of England, the Midlands and London.
This follows the appointment of Phil Shipman and Gary McIntyre, who look after the North of England and Scotland.
De Bourgogne said: "We have got four people out on the road working more actively with agents, when a lot of tour operators are pulling back on that side. The team is working very proactively with agents. We are doing one educational a month and teaming up with them on local advertising and events."
He would not reveal if the company is likely to use Groupon again, but said he would work with top-selling agencies to "find a solution" in similar circumstances.
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