Tipto is reaping the rewards from a major restructure last year. Juliet Dennis reports
The Truly Independent Professional Travel Organisation (Tipto) is aiming to increase the number of supershows and training days it holds as it welcomes its 20th member.
Long-haul tour operator Travelpack has joined Tipto, which now has more members than it has had for at least eight years.
Since September 2015, members have also had access to 734 agents, an increase of about 20% year on year. Tipto chairman Zena Hill anticipates the number of supplier members rising before the end of its financial year in August, with agents particularly keen to see more members specialising in Asia and Africa.
“I think 25 would be a good number,” she said. “We have got some more operators ready and wanting to join. This time last year we had 15 members.”
The expansion is a result of changes to the constitution last year that meant agents could no longer “blackball” new members from joining. Suppliers must apply to join and be voted in by a majority of supplier members.
Having a larger membership has also given Tipto access to a larger budget and led to new events, including four supershows and four classroom-style training days in the organisation’s 17th year.
Tipto is holding 24 roadshows between September 2015 and August 2016, four supershows and four training days.
The supershows, which were first introduced in September, and have so far attracted almost 100 agents.Sponsorship packages are also offered to tourist boards and airlines, which receive a stand at the events.
Its traditional roadshows, which have been overhauled, now include 10 minutes’ ‘speed-dating’ with suppliers instead of eight, while the training days include presentations by four of Tipto’s members and social media sessions.
Hill said positive feedback from the new supershows and training events meant there were likely to be more of both in the next financial year.
She said more homeworkers were also attending the supershows. “We only used to get a couple of homeworkers coming to our roadshows but we had about 20 at the Manchester supershow. They are really important to our members,” Hill said.
Up to 150 agents are expected to attend each of the next two supershows in London and Newcastle.
Tipto will also run a north and south VIP event this summer for supplier members to socialise with about 50 agents.
What the members say:
“Being a Tipto member has helped me reach many agents in 12 months that wouldn’t be otherwise possible. I have met and keep meeting agents who are proactive and dynamic and are focused on learning and developing their ever growing travel knowledge, and with all the Tipto suppliers there to support them together we can be even more successful."
Amanda Elgie, AmaWaterways
“I have been attending Tipto roadshows for some time now but last week was my first supershow and, wow, what a show. We must have spoken to around 100 travel agents during the workshop style sessions. This is a great way to interact with the agents in an informal way. We had enough time with them to get across our key selling messages but also a chance for the agents to ask us questions. There was also a number of home workers in attendance (as with most of the roadshows) and this is fantastic for us as we would not normally have the opportunity to speak directly to home workers.”
Sarah Hillier, Belleair
“All Tipto events are so much fun and a great night for both suppliers and agents. It has helped us as a brand engage with new and exciting agents. I’ve had great feedback from the agents when I’ve been out on the road this week - they all love them.”
Michael Young-Richards, DoSomethingDifferent.com
“Since Tipto has introduced the new format it has engaged with even more travel agents, with the supershows now having a great mix of business but also fun. This has attracted bigger attendances meaning we get to see more agents while still getting over our key sales messages.”
Ashley Dellow, Leger Holidays
“Newmarket is now in its sixth year of working with Tipto and the roadshows have been instrumental in gaining the phenomenal trade growth that we have seen year on year. Agents are amazed at the breadth of product we offer and the longer speed dating sessions gives us more time to relay that information.”
Richard Forde, Newmarket
“The new roadshows, supershows and training days have been a really welcome change from Tipto this year. The chance to see more agents, in a variety of ways has helped us maximise face to face time – something which is massively important to both us and the agents we meet.”
Tariq Khan, Hoseasons & Villas4you
“At Intrepid we love the new roadshows as they give us the ability to talk to a huge range of agents that otherwise we would not be able to access.”
Tom Hawes, Intrepid Travel
What agents say:
On the Manchester supershow...
Faye Blackburn, CBT International Travel, said: “There was a really good atmosphere.”
Roy Senior, Travel Counsellors, said: “The Tipto event will be a permanent fixture in my diary.”
Mel Kelleher-Greenwood, Travel Counsellors, said: “It was a great show, lots of suppliers, and it was great to make contacts.”
On the March roadshows...
Janice Fryer, Spear Travels, said: “I love the speed-dating sessions and the presentations.”
Deborah Jacques, Debonaire Travel, said: “Meeting the suppliers gives me great confidence to book with them.”
Rebecca Catterall, Midcounties Co-op Travel, said: “ I always learn a lot from the suppliers who attend.”
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