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p2 dec5 3/12/08 21:12 Page 2
Could Co-op’s tour
plans undermine
agents in long run?
WHEN Thomson slashed agents’ commission to 7%
a couple of years ago, the Co-op said it would never
let itself be bullied by suppliers again.
A £1.8 million loss later at the hands of XL Leisure
Group and boss Mike Greenacre has had enough.
He still raves about his number-one relationship
with Thomas Cook and lets no one forget that Thom-
son eventually came back with its tail between its legs.
this week
But when Greenacre says he wants to control his
own destiny and remove all risk of being shafted
again, he means business.
The society’s new tour operation, which he claims
could be the third-largest in the UK thanks to the Co- P
op’s guaranteed distribution, is to launch in January.
At the same time, it is introducing a new policy
Venice sounds flood warning
for its dynamic packaging venture Escape that will Tourists were warned to stay away from Venice this week as flood water
see it contracting direct with hoteliers, rather than deluged the historic city. The incident was one of many global events to impact
buying through UK bed banks. the travel industry, following the terrorist outrage in Mumbai, protests in
Meanwhile, Travel Counsellors is ramping up its Bangkok and a pirate attack on a cruise ship in the Gulf of Aden. p6
own tour operation Suitcase, building on its direct
contracting for the Phenix dynamic packaging system. Kiss Flights. consumer protection it offers
For these two big guns, the days of being Greenacre defends stance p4
■ Read more from Aito online at
beholden to third-party suppliers is over. The Co-operative Travel Group
With other agency groups such as Hays Travel and managing director Mike Greenacre Travel Counsellors.
Triton also keenly developing their tour operating has defended his stance on refusing
Suitcase expanded p12
arms, it seems that, for the large agencies at least, to deal with flight-only start-up Travel Counsellors has unveiled
the model of them as acting purely as a middleman Kiss Flights, despite concerns from plans to add private villas and city
will be consigned to history. Freedom consortium members it hotels to its inhouse Suitcase tour
But does that necessarily mean that all is rosy for might restrict access to seats operation and improvements to its
their agents on the frontline? dynamic packing system Phenix
Hotel chain Sol Melia this week said it wants to Co-op.
■ More on Travel Counsellors at
build its brand so customers will come into agencies New tour operation p5
and ask specifically for its properties. The Co-operative Travel Group is to Travel Gives Back.
But there is no doubt that this sort formally launch a tour operation Tui seeks volunteers p14
of campaign is also about encouraging in January, as it seeks to reduce its We profile the third year of Tui/
potential bookers to seek Sol Melia direct. reliance on third-party suppliers. First Choice’s volunteer programme,
If the big agency chains’ tour operating It also plans to contract hotels Project Discovery, as part of our
brands succeed in driving out middlemen, directly for its Escape DIY system new Travel Gives Back campaign
what will stop customers bypassing
agents in shops and call centres and Kuoni. Big two.
booking direct online as well? Online discount rap p9 Cook forges ahead p18
Greenacre and Travel Counsel- Kuoni has been criticised after it If success is judged by profit
lors’ David Speakman have offered online discounts for the margins, Thomas Cook has stolen
been among the greatest cham- first time. One agent called it a a march on its big rival Tui Travel,
pions of agents in recent years. “slap in the face” according to the tour giants’
Let’s hope they have found a way annual results for 2007-08
for these developments to remain Aito.
compatible with that cause in the You missed a trick p10 SECTORS.
long term. The annual Aito overseas Cruise p24
conference was told that the Operators p28
association did not do enough to Hotels & resorts p30
Lucy Huxley Editor capitalise on the collapse of XL Air p32
Leisure Group by emphasising the Business travel p34
02 05.12.2008
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