Agents have voiced their disappointment at Thomas Cook’s decision to reduce commission – but many say the move did not come as a surprise.
Oliver Broad, director of RB Collection and former chairman of Aito Specialist Agents, said: “It’s just another reason to stop supporting the larger companies which we did many years ago.
“I’m confused why independent agents still sell them when there are so many great independent tour operators who are eager to work with us and have higher quality products for our clients.”
Speaking as Travel Weekly revealed the changes on Wednesday, the operator said that after going through a period of significant change with non-core brands taken out of the business, it was the right time to review third-party remuneration.
It would not reveal what commission levels it had agreed with partners, with discussions believed to be ongoing with some consortia, but a spokesman confirmed it was an overall reduction.
Posting on the Travel Gossip Facebook group, Jenny Jackson of Travel-PA said: “They (Cook) did start to follow Tui with online discounting during (former chief executive) Harriet Green’s restructuring, making it impossible to match them, but realised they needed the support of independent agents.
“We very sheepishly took the bait and helped them out of a hole, only to be cast aside once again. Let us all have an even playing field.”
Posting on travelweekly.co.uk and referring to Cook’s insistence that agents driving significant volume would still be rewarded, Lee Harrison of Malvern World Travel said: “How do they expect you to “drive volume” when you’re 142 in the chat queue? Not entirely surprising was it? How long till they realise the mistake they’re making?”
Travelweekly.co.uk user Nick added: “Well what a surprise…not. Did agents really believe Thomas Cook when they introduced price parity?
“If you really want to change minds put them on stop sale for a week. If no agent in the UK booked them for seven days, they would soon change their mind, but will people have the guts to do it? Probably not.”
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