Published on Friday, January 26, 2018

Agent ditches Neilson brochures in row over commission

A travel agency has ditched its Neilson brochures after the operator said it would not pay commission on a ski booking.

Louise Vernon, senior travel consultant at Omega Travel in Cheshire, made the booking for a regular client who has holidayed at the same property in the Alps, for the past eight years.

The £4,000 booking was made on Tuesday. After a day off, Louise returned to work yesterday to be told Neilson would not be paying 10% commission on the booking as the hotel is part of the operator's product range that is now direct-sell only.

Neilson announced in March last year that, for its 2017/18 Mountain Collection range would only be available as direct-sell, not through the trade. Other products in its portfolio can still be sold through agents.

Posting on Travel Gossip, she said: "I was told that the reservation agent has made a mistake and should never have confirmed the booking for me. It's one of several properties that can't be booked though a travel agent.

"I was told I could keep the booking, but I would not earn any commission!

"Several calls were made to ABTA, the trade department at Neilson etc. I asked if we could come to some kind of resolution, perhaps a gesture of goodwill. Nope!

"My client is not impressed as I normally help with adding extra bags/seats and speak to the hotel prior to them arriving. Now he has to do all this himself.

"Neilson - your brochures are now in the bin and off our shelves. Feeling annoyed."

She added: "I wish I could have switched them, but no-one else features this hotel. I will not actively search or sell them now. What amazes me is how tour operators sideline us agents. Surely they are better having our market share than not."

Louise told TravelMole she was not aware the hotel could not be booked through agents.

"I've booked this property, the Hotel Aalborg in Les Deux Alpes, for eight years in a row for this customer, so I didn't use the brochure," she said.

Several agents responded to the Travel Gossip post to say they have had similar experiences and others have said they'll take Neilson brochures off their racks as a result.

One said: "I used to have three regular groups who booked the Neilson own properties - all of them I've sold something else this year. Such a shame as is a great product, but just not supporting agents now!"

Neilson told TravelMole it will look into the Omega Travel booking.

It added only a third of its ski product is direct-sell and the rest is still available for agents to book. The proportion of direct-sell product has not increased since the announcement was made in March last year and it has separate agents' brochures that do not include the direct-sell properties.

In addition, Neilson said the whole of its beach product is still available for agents to sell.

Neilson head of brand Dean Robinson added: "We are very sorry Louise found herself in this unfortunate situation, we had hoped we had communicated the changes extensively when we announced them last year.

"We very much value our travel agent partners. There is still two-thirds of our ski product that is commissionable plus all our 10 summer beach clubs."



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