Pictured: Ikos Olivia

Sister hotel brands Sani Resort and Ikos Resorts are to create an agent platform as part of a strategy to work more closely with the trade.

The hotel group, best known for its Greek properties, is setting up its first office in the UK and has appointed Lee Barker as sales and marketing regional director for the UK, Scandinavia and Americas.

Barker hopes to have the new digital platform in place by October as he looks to help agents “build a knowledge and understanding” of the two brands.

The online hub will house a training programme, booking reward details, incentives and fact sheets.

Currently, 70% of bookings come through operators, the rest through OTAs, direct or via other channels.

Barker said: “Over the years, Ikos and Sani have built up very strong relationships with tour operators, but the brands are yet to penetrate the travel agent community.

“Our strategy is to build strong ties with agents, not with a view to taking those agent bookings away from operators, but to build a knowledge and understanding among agents about our product.

“I see a big opportunity with luxury agents – those offering a concierge-style service, who have an affluent clientele. The opportunity for growth is exciting.”

Barker, who previously worked for Kerzner International for more than a decade, is recruiting for three positions: sales support, business development and head of sales and marketing.

Sani Resort is a collection of five adjoining hotels in Halkidiki, Greece, while Ikos operates four properties in Greece and has a new addition in Marbella, Spain.

Barker said there were plans to introduce a fam trip programme in the future.