Trade ‘gobsmacked’ by Saga’s decision to reduce number of agent partners

Saga Holidays
By Lisa James
Home » Trade ‘gobsmacked’ by Saga’s decision to reduce number of agent partners

Agents who have been dropped by Saga have expressed disappointment that the operator no longer wants to work with them.

One described the move as a ‘slap in the face’, another said it was ‘short-sighted’ and a third said it was ‘ludicrous’.

The over-50s specialist has written to agents saying it is making changes to its business and is reducing the number of trade partners it deals with from next month.

Agents denounced the decision as ‘short-sighted’ and expressed anger that the trade has supported Saga, especially during the pandemic.

In a statement, Saga said: “As Saga customers return to travel throughout 2022, we have made changes to our business to ensure we are delivering the holidays our customers want.

“As part of this, we are moving to work with a smaller group of trade partners to enable us to more closely collaborate and build stronger relationships.

“This is all part of our strategy to build a more agile travel business, delivering the quality holidays that our customers want.”

The move came out of the blue, as the operator said in October that it valued the trade.

Shocked agents have expressed their anger and disappointment on the Travel Gossip Facebook site, with one, Janine De Silva of Waltham Travel in Grimsby saying she was ‘absolutely gobsmacked to be honest’. She added the move was ‘yet another slap in the face for us’.

Nick Marks, joint Managing Director at Baldwins Travel, said: “I can’t help think how short-sighted this decision is. I hope they remember that our clients’ details are ours.”

Wayne Dennett, Travel Manager at Lincolnshire Cooperative, said the move was ‘ludicrous at a time where we all could have great opportunities of working and bouncing back together’.

He added: “Have worked closely with them since they got involved with the trade. Have promoted them, grown sales each year (pre-pandemic) and supported them and our mutual customers since.

“I feel more let down today by Saga than I ever have done by any other supplier playing these games, probably because I didn’t see it coming.

“We are staying positive though as there are many other great suppliers offering similar products, we are more determined than ever to educate our customers on these products for their future holidays.”

Westoe Travel boss Graeme Brett said he was ‘disappointed’, adding the company had ‘some great tours with unique added value’.

And he warned: “All travel agents will be closely watching to see that our customers are not contacted directly in breach of GDPR.”

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