Comment: Agents get timely boost

Comment: Agents get timely boost

There was a time when the issue of dwindling agentcommissions and operators targeting growth in directsales was a regular top story for us at Travel Weekly.

But while there are still some cases of suppliers decidingthat trade sales aren’t for them, there are also a healthynumber boosting their investment in what they see as anincreasingly valuable channel.

This week is certainly one of the ‘good news’ weeks inthat respect, as we report on Carnival Cruise Line’s plans tofocus its UK sales team 100% on the trade.

And agents will also be hearing more from the previouslydirect-sell James Villas in the coming weeks as it toobuilds on the decision to make its entire portfolio availablethrough the trade for the first time.

There will always be suppliers on both sides of the fence,and you have to respect any business’s prerogative to driveits business in the way it feels is best for its bottom line andits customers.

But the fact we are writing more often about companiesturning to the trade for the first time, or increasing theirtrade distribution, is a clear indication that they see thevalue a good agent can offer.

I’ve no doubt there will be plenty of stories and analysisin the coming weeks about the challenges facing theindustry heading into 2017.

But the fact that so many suppliers see thetrade as key to their success should certainlygive agents a timely boost as we approachthe busiest booking period of the year.

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