AGENTS' lack of confidence in selling ski has sparked a major training drive by Neilson as it targets growth of 12% for 1999/2000.
It has spent more than £30,000 on a video training pack which will range from a teach-yourself option to full-day seminars. "Some customers know more about skiing than agents do," said specialist product director Terry Williamson.
"Direct-sell ski operators have around 50% of the market. That figure will grow unless we educate agents and give them the confidence to sell the product."
He added first-time skiers may be put off for good if they encounter agents who have little knowledge of the product.
"Only 2% of the population have tried skiing so there is enormous potential. We are reliant on the travel trade to convince the public to try it."
First-time skiers have been targeted in the latest brochure with a section explaining ski jargon and outlining the basic equipment and clothing.
Neilson is also offering a clothing hire service.
"Many non-skiers are put off by the thought of having to buy expensive gear which they may never use again," said Williamson.
In a further bid to attract first-timers, Neilson has produced a video explaining what customers can expect. It costs £14.95 but the money is refunded if the customer then books a holiday.
Four properties in the Californian resort of Heavenly have been added. Williamson said most growth will be in Austria, Andorra and France.
Meanwhile, prices to North America have fallen by an average of £45 per person with a lead in of £319 for seven nights room only at the Sun and Ski in Stowe.
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