German data sharing scandal prompts TUI to cancel sales agreement with mega agency network

By Linsey McNeill
13/06/2023
Home » German data sharing scandal prompts TUI to cancel sales agreement with mega agency network

TUI is one of two leading German tour operators to cancel its sales agreement with the country’s biggest travel agency network after it was discovered that it had shared its sales data with one of their major rivals.

It was discovered that the agency consortium RTK had been passing on to tour operator FTI detailed sales figures for up to 3,000 of its travel agency members for eight years.

The data included bookings for a dozen other tour operators, including TUI, Shauinsland and other leading companies, according to a report in German travel trade publication FVW TravelTalk.

TUI has since cancelled its sales agreement not only with RTK but also the mega agency network Quality Travel Alliance (QTA), which is managed by RTK’s parent company RT Reisen and includes RTK, TUI Travel Star (an RTK-TUI cooperation), and Alpha Reisebüropartne (an RTK-Shauinslandd-Reisen joint venture).

In total, QTA has more than 5,000 members, which is about half of all German travel agents.

In a letter to travel agency partners, TUI Germany wrote: “The disclosure of sales and booking data concerning us over a very long period of time to one of our competitors is in no way acceptable. This action is a clear violation of the spirit and specific provisions of our agreement with the QTA.”

TUI told its travel agency partners that it would directly compensate any financial disadvantages that QTA members might suffer as a result of its decision.

Schauinsland-Reisen followed suit and also cancelled its sales agreement with QTA with immediate effect, saying its business interests had been ‘damaged massively’ by the sharing of confidential commercial information with a competitor.

It also said it would compensate agents for any loss of super-commissions that they would have earned through QTA from selling its holidays. 

RTK has queried whether TUI and Schauinsland were legally entitled to cancel their agreements, but its boss Thomas Bösl said he was keen to ‘find a solution through talks’.

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