Agents warn TUI it’ll have to work hard to beat Jet2

By Lisa James
Home » Agents warn TUI it’ll have to work hard to beat Jet2

Agents have warned TUI needs to work hard to win back trust if it wants their help to regain its position as the UK’s biggest operator.

TUI boss Sebastian Ebel said yesterday the company plans to retake its spot as the number-one UK operator in terms of size after rival Jet2 became the biggest ATOL holder for the first time, with half a million more passengers.

But while the TUI Chief Executive said winning is important to the operator, agents say TUI needs to make it worth their while if it wants them to sell its product.  

Improvements TUI needs to work on, according to agents, include: paying ‘decent’ commissions, ditching what’s perceived as an ‘anti-agent stance’, introducing price parity or ‘at least lower levels of discounting’, matching Jet2’s baggage allowance, as well as improving customer service overall.

Paul Salisbury, Co-Founder and Director at Guru Travel in Rugeley, Staffordshire, said his agency could put up to £1.5 million a year of business through TUI if it supported agents.

He said: “If TUI allowed us to sell their product and actually make money then agents would support them.

“Unfortunately until they do they we won’t. We haven’t sold a TUI holiday since 2018.

“We actually just refuse to quote them even if clients ask us to as we’d rather not work for nothing.

“It’s just very frustrating as we’d probably do £1-1.5 million a year with TUI.

“I reckon we could’ve done £200,000-£300,000 between Boxing Day and 31 January, based on clients asking for TUI.

“TUI needs to speculate to accumulate and understand that more and more people now want to book with people they’ve been referred to.”

Paula Hansen, Managing Director of World Explorer Holidays in Cardiff, said: “TUI needs to wake up.

“Even with price parity I wouldn’t want to book them. Their service has been so awful it’s not worth ruining my relationship with customers.”

Essex-based Independent Travel Agent Steve Evans advised TUI to ‘re-engage with agents again properly’.

“TUI needs to stop cutting our margins to virtually zero against the consumer site,” Steve said.

“Whenever I receive an enquiry, I don’t even consider using TUI unless I am asked for a TUI-specific holiday.

“TUI couldn’t do enough for agents in the early days and pretty much used us to get where they are today before they turned their back on us agents.”

One agent, Greig Evans, was more accommodating to TUI, saying: “Personally I don’t think they are as anti-agent as people make out but their discounting needs to be more reasonable so we can all make a decent commission out of a sale.

“TUI has a fantastic product but they are very difficult to promote as their online discounting is a huge barrier even on future seasons, where it used to be more reasonable and has now crept up in last few months.”

Travel Gossip has asked TUI for a comment.

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