The chairwoman of Aito Agents wants more of the organisation’s direct-sell operator members to consider selling via agents, saying she wants the group to work more “as a family unit”.
Gemma Antrobus, managing director of Haslemere Travel, said mutual support between the agent and operator parts of the association needs to grow.
She aims to get more direct‑sell operators working with Aito Agents.
Currently, 91 of the 122 operator members sell through the trade, but Antrobus is hopeful she can forge ties with the other 31 direct-sell operators.
“My aim is for more operators to realise the benefits of working with agents, for agents to see the value and importance of working with Aito specialist tour operators, and for both sides to work a bit closer with our affiliate members,” she said.
In the wake of Antrobus’s comments, Aito operator Discover Adventure, which has been direct-sell for the past 21 years, revealed intentions to sell through the trade.
Managing director Jonathan Bryan said: “We’ve been thinking about selling through the trade for some time and I think the profile of the charity fundraiser trips which we organise would now sell well through Aito agents.
“People are much more familiar with this kind of trip and a lot of agents will have customers who want this.”
Antrobus told delegates the Aito family was “somewhat dysfunctional”, adding: “There are a great many members who wholeheartedly believe in and support all aspects of our family, but there are still some that have a way to go to believe we really are a family.”
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