Scottish Passenger Agents Association president Kevin Thom has urged the new Thomas Cook boss to embrace the wider trade and work with independent agents to help repair the company’s brand.
In the past, independent agents have struggled to match Thomas Cook’s online and shop discounts but in recent months discounts levels have been reduced and made it easier for independents to compete and sell the company’s products, he said.
He said: “Since Thomas Cook’s troubles began there has been a realignment within their model in terms of discounts online and in stores.
"The discounts have now been reduced to more sensible levels and as a result our members can compete with Thomas Cook on price and sell Thomas Cook’s products rather than having to move away from selling them.
“My hope would be that Harriet Green will continue with that stance and not go back to the old model where the company thought online was the salvation.
"I would hope she would learn from mistakes of the previous management and continue to embrace and work with the trade as a whole. If she wants to repair the brand she needs to engage with the wider trade community.”
Other agents agreed. Gary Lewis, group managing director of The Travel Network Group, which includes the Travel Trust Association and Worldchoice, said: "Clearly Thomas Cook needs a new approach and bringing someone in from outside the industry with fresh eyes could be exactly what they need. For us it would be good to see them take a wider view of the industry in terms of working closer with the independents."
Thom said the fact that Green comes from outside the industry could mean she will bring “fresh ideas” but warned that travel could not be sold as other commodities. “You cannot commoditise it like computer chips,” he said.
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