COMMISSION to agents should be scrapped in the lates
market to halt the growth of do-it-yourself holidays, according to Cosmos
managing director Terry Williamson.

The move would mean operators selling holidays at net
prices through the trade – reducing prices on average by 15% says Williamson –
and agents charging service fees on package sales.

Although the fee would bump up the overall price, the
perception would be different because it would be a separate charge to the main
holiday, he added. Many operators already pay less commission in the lates
market.

“In lates everything is sold on price and there is no
brand loyalty,” he said. “I’d like to see the industry move to net holidays.
Agents can charge the right fee because they know customers’ budgets.

“This would stop clients self-packaging in the lates
market. It reduces the ability for customers to undercut on price.”

But Midconsort chairman Charles Eftichiou branded the
idea a “non-starter” and claimed agents would boycott operators’ products in
favour of self-packaging themselves.

“Every retailer would want its own mini-ATOL. Agents
would not be prepared to charge service fees for inclusive tours,” he said.