Published on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thomas Cook restricts brochure supply to independents

Independent agents are complaining that Thomas Cook is imposing restrictions on brochure supplies, demanding a certain number of bookings in exchange for copies.

Agent Janette Ashby said she has been told that in order to maintain supplies of Thomas Cook brochures, her agency must book between 700 and 1000 passengers per year.

In a post on the travel community forum Travel Gossip, she said: "It would be lovely to let all our suppliers have this amount of bookings, but when would we sleep?"

She added that when she emailed the travel giant asking for more supplies, she was told to go to a Thomas Cook shop and 'take some of theirs as they get far more than they can cope with. Lol'.

Fellow agent Joanne Morris said she has also been given new restrictions by Thomas Cook.

"I will just switch sell them if they can't be bothered sending us brochures," she said.

Thomas Cook has since announced that it realises the number provided to certain agencies might need to be revised. A spokesman said third party agents were still 'an essential part of Thomas Cook's distributin strategy'.

"To this end, we offer all our partners unlimited access to our online brochure store to ensure that they can access information and download brochure titles freely and easily.

"We supply print copies of our brochures to all our partners, but in an effort to remain environmentally sound, the number provided  to each is in line with the amount of sales that partner generates for the business.

"While it would be remiss to provide exact details of our private arrangements, we appreciate that the amount provided may need to be revised in some cases.

"Accordingly, we are in the process of reviewing the amount of print brochures we provide to certain third parties. We would encourage any trade partner to contact us directly so that we can constructively address any concerns they might have with regards to brochure distribution. "

Sion Jones, an independent from rural Wales, said Thomas Cook had warned agents earlier this year that it was gradually doing away with brochures, but he added: "Loose the brochures and we lose the customers and the travel agent days continue to draw fewer and fewer."

Referring to Virgin Holidays' recent decision to ditch trade sales, Andew Bown-Copley posted: "First virgin remove themselves. Now this mandate from Thomas Cook has effectively done the same. Who will be next?"

The company recently launched new-style brochures in five of its retail stores which allow customers to view holidays in '360' by using a Google Cardboard headset.

The back cover of the brochures tell customers to download a new Thomas Cook Holiday 360 app so that they can use their mobile phones and headset to get a 'virtual reality' look at destinations.

Responding to the complaints on Travel Gossip, Chloe Walton, who works at a Thomas Cook concept store, said the lack of brochures had not hindered its sales. "I actually think it's very fresh," she said, "but I can understand the concern, dependent on your location and clientele."

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  • Brochures

    We were told earlier this year we will only receive a file copy we also make our clients aware that Thomas Cook no longer send us brochures ! Tui always send us supplies so we will be selling more of them since our customers still like to choose holidays from a brochure

    By David Celino-Stock, Friday, October 23, 2015

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