Agents have heaped praise on TUI for improving its prices, commission and customer service.
Posting in Travel Gossip’s Facebook group, Sharon du Toit of Wigan-based Aspire Travel said she was switch-selling to TUI for most bookings during the peak booking season.
She even predicted that TUI could leapfrog Jet2holidays to regain its position as the largest ATOL-holder since it has introduced better commercial terms and more support for independent agents.
Other agents said they’d also been switch-selling to TUI as it often beats its rivals on price.
“It is true at the moment…think TUI really feeling sales drop over last few years when many of us put clients to Jet2 and easyJet,” said Sara Spillard of Dartmouth Travel.
In November, TUI Chief Marketing Officer Neil Swanson told Travel Gossip that the operator had seen double digit growth through independent agents since introducing new commercial terms, including higher rates of commission.
Agents also praised TUI’s customer service, which Tracey Cannell, Manager of Midlands-based independent agency Four Oaks Travel said had improved ‘ten fold’.
Homeworker Lisa Marie Taylor of Jrt Travel with Lisa wrote: “TUI has absolutely been [the] better option for myself since December; hope TUI keeps it up.”
She later told Travel Gossip TUI’s more friendly approach to independent agents had coincided with other leading operators becoming less trade-friendly. “TUI is definitely working well for me, I never imagined I’d say those words together!” she said.
One agent said they’d saved as much as £500 switch-selling to TUI, another said the operator was ‘starting to see the value in agents’, while a third wrote ‘actually loving them during peaks’.
Remi Creed of One Travel Club wrote: “Well done TUI! I’m seeing huge improvements,” and Clare Horton of Travel-pa told Travel Gossip: “It’s the first time I’ve been able to use TUI and actually make some money!”
While agents say they’re struggling to compete with some other operators’ online prices, TUI’s higher rates of commission introduced late last year mean they can offer clients better deals.
“They now have a BDM (Business Development Manager) too which is great,” added Ashleigh Pedersen of Travel Dreams by Ashleigh.
TUI trade sales team was boosted to 17 late last year, when Neil Swanson assured agents it was commited to the trade. “I know they’re sceptical,” he said back in November. “I realise they’re asking ‘is TUI here to stay or is this just a flash in the pan’, but I’m hoping to build trust with agents and they can see that we are here to support them.”