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p9 dec5 3/12/08 21:03 Page 9
Kuoni riles key agents
by discounting online
Rupert Murray.
McKay believes Kuoni should have asked its
KUONI’s decision to discount online for the first specialist agents for help as they could have
time has been described as a “slap in the face” advertised and marketed destinations.
by one of its specialist agents. “I am eager to rebuild the destroyed trust but
Until this week the operator has always it will take time and we’ll have to see if this
refused to discount, but direct bookers can now discounting is temporary,” he added.
get 5% off all holidays to the Maldives, Mauritius “I found out from a customer, which was em-
and Barbados until December 14. barrassing, and a £700 commission booking be-
Nick McKay, managing director of Travel came less than £200 as I had to price-match.”
Designers, feels his partnership with Kuoni, built Kuoni sales director Manuel Mascarenhas said
up over five years, has been severely damaged. the decision was vital to maintain market share.
“This is a big mistake and has offended a lot “Other operators have always discounted,”
of agents,” he said. “We have a basket of opera- he said. “Many agents use their commission to
tors we like to work with and Kuoni was in it. But discount, so this is not an anti-agent move – they
with this move they are teetering on entering the still have our full support.”
other basket to join operators such as Hayes &
Jarvis and Virgin – I rarely sell either of them.” ■ Kuoni: The luxury market is evolving, p16
Plan for new carrier abandoned
THE FORMER UK boss of failed transatlantic funding needed. Hinkles said a key investor had
SHINE AWARDS: Sunshine Travel’s Karen no-frills airline Zoom has been forced to been unable to proceed with its plans to provide
Eason, TTG’s reigning Face of Travel, was abandon plans to start a new airline next year a “significant proportion of the funding” for rea-
the winner of a special achievement award after a key investor pulled out. sons that were not connected to Project James.
at last week’s annual Shine Awards for Jonathan Hinkles had planned to launch the It had been impossible to secure alternative
women in travel. She received her prize four-aircraft charter airline, code-named Project investment so the decision was taken to suspend
from Mark Riches of First Protocol. Other James, in April to serve former XL Airways work in time for operators to make alternative
winners included New Frontiers’ Julia routes to the eastern Mediterranean and Egypt. arrangements for next summer, he said.
Feuell, World Travel Market’s Fiona Jeffery However, he has now decided to “suspend The venture had received the support of inde-
and The Liner Hotel’s Emma Chang work” on the venture after failing to get all the pendent operators struggling to find capacity.
Cook extends £7m Chelsea deal
THOMAS COOK said it expected to see a return Thomas Cook provides travel for the clubs’
on its extended £7 million travel partner deal players and officials, and also offers fans special
with Chelsea Football Club. deals on game packages and holidays.
Cook now has similar deals with all the UK’s “Thomas Cook is a very old brand and we love
biggest clubs except Manchester United, which and cherish it, but we have to keep it modern and
has renewed its partnership with The Co-opera- relevant,” said Fontenla-Novoa. “Five years ago
tive Travel Group. we were in danger of becoming a bit staid; we
Manny Fontenla-Novoa, Cook’s chief executive, were not really connecting with younger people.”
described its Thomas Cook Sports arm, which Thomas Cook Sports was the official travel
grew out of its shirt sponsorship of Manchester partner for the recent Ashes cricket tour to
City, as a growing part of the business. Australia. It will be the partner for next year’s
He said being associated with the globally- British Lions rugby tour to South Africa and has
popular English Premier League fitted with also won a contract for Formula One.
Cook’s “business aims” and helped the brand Getty
reach out to a younger audience. ■ ‘Look out, Scolari’: Out & about, p22 Cheer: Fontenla-Novoa feels Cook has scored a good deal
05.12.2008 09
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