Agents from multiples are to be allowed to attend Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisation events for the first time under a radical shake-up expected to attract more members.
Tipto is in talks with Thomas Cook to allow its agents to attend new Super Roadshows from next month. The four events are each expected to be attended by up to 150 multiple and independent agents.
Chairman Zena Hill said the move – voted for by a majority of Tipto’s operator members – made sense because 96% of members now work with multiples.
“I am optimistic we will get a great response,” she said. “I would not be surprised if we have to put a cap on it [numbers to the Super Roadshows]. We’d like a couple of staff from each multiple branch.”
There are no talks with Tui because of the company’s focus on inhouse sales. “It is more of a closed shop,” Hill admitted.
Tipto is also dropping a policy which allows members to bar rivals from joining, known as “blackballing”.
The moves are expected to increase membership of Tipto. Saga Holidays and JTA Travel are joining in September while Inghams and Western & Oriental Travel are leaving, so numbers will remain static at 15, but discussions are under way with five more suppliers.
Hill said Tipto’s constitution had been in desperate need of reform.
“We needed to make changes for Tipto to survive. It felt a bit to me like an old man’s club,” she said.
“We have a couple of exciting new members coming up who have not worked with the trade before.
“I am more excited about the year ahead than I have ever been.”
One operator is understood to be leaving as a result of the decision to drop blackballing.
Hill said: “We didn’t expect everyone to want the change but the majority voted for it.”
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