Tui sets out aim to compete with major rivals for agents’ sales

Tui’s marketing boss says the operator “absolutely” wants to compete in the same space as rivals as it rolls out plans to work with more independent travel agents.

The operator is expanding its trade team and ramping up its support in a bid to engage with third party agents following a decision to broaden its distribution further.

Chief marketing officer Neil Swanson said the operator was missing out on customers who book through independent agents rather than through its own shops or website.

He said Tui recognised there was a different set of consumers using third-party agents which the operator’s rivals, which include Jet2holidays and easyJet holidays, were already tapping into.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, he said: “We’ve got some key partners but there’s a lot of the trade we haven’t been working with. And that’s something we’ve been missing out on.

“We see from our own retail stores, retail customers are very loyal to shopping and shops. I see a big difference between those customers who want to buy online versus those who want to go into a shop and buy within our own estate.

“I see these as different customers so why would we not want to engage in exactly the same [as our rivals] and compete for those customers with the product that we’ve got?

“Clearly those competitors don’t have the retail estate that we’ve currently got, and that’s probably one of the factors that’s come into play, but we absolutely want to be playing in the same way that they are.”

Swanson has urged agents – many of whom already work closely with Tui’s rivals – to “give us a go”.

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