The president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association has renewed his criticism of operators prioritising direct sales, insisting business through agents could earn suppliers more money.
Speaking at the SPAA’s dinner in Glasgow on Thursday, Jimmy Martin singled out Tui Travel, which he claimed was undermining its strategy with its own online discounting.
Insisting that Tui had “long lost touch with agents”, Martin said: “You may be 90% in-house sales but what are you paying for it with ridiculous discounts online?”
Martin said Jet2 had now emerged as a serious competitor, and that Thomas Cook’s price parity also enabled agents to make good margins while driving business for supportive operators.
He also encouraged more operators to target Scotland to make the market more competitive, though warned against pricing which could force rivals to remove routes or cut jobs.
Martin also used the speech to question the impact of agent incentives, taking issue with voucher-based incentives “and the owners trying to control their agents in pushing certain products”.
He said that his own experience at a previous company showed that staff began to “sell for themselves rather than the business”, resulting in the wrong holidays being sold and costing the company “a small fortune”.
Instead, he said staff needed to be paid the right wages to ensure that such incentives were not a priority.
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