Tui's shift to fees threatens indie agents' commission

Tui's shift to fees threatens indie agents' commission

Tui Travel plans to introduce service fees for ‘mainstream’ bookings through its shops as it moves to offer single prices online and in store.

Distribution and online director Nick Longman confirmed the move, which threatens to end commission for independent agents.

The company will introduce service fees in its stores following a full roll-out of its Phoenix IT system, already in use at First Choice.

This will allow bookings to be tracked across different distribution channels.

Speaking at Abta’s Travel Convention in Turkey, Longman said: “It will be difficult to have different pricing [online and in shops] so we’re looking at adding a service fee.”

Longman told Travel Weekly fees would be set at “less than 1% of the price of a holiday”.

He said fees would be “part of a transition, not a long-term strategy”. And he added: “We’re looking at ways to remunerate staff where customers book online after being in store.”

Tui Travel would not confirm its intention to move to net rates for independents, but the implication is clear.

Paul Dayson, managing partner of Spa Travel in Bolton, said: “If commission went to zero, it would make it an easier decision not to sell Thomson.”

Travel Designers managing director Nick Harding-McKay added: “If Thomson wants to become the Ryanair of the industry, let them.”

A Tui spokesman insisted it was too early to say what this meant for third-party commission. He said: “Plans are at an early stage and we’re unable to comment on any potential impact on third-party agent commission. We recognise the importance of third-party distribution, which forms part of our plans for the foreseeable future.”


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