GLOBAL Travel Group’s members have been urged to
use the fact they can now package their own holidays to fight the
big four’s plans to slash commission.

The big four – led by First Choice – are all looking
to replace commissions of up to 15% with tiered payments based on
the volume of sales.

Midconsort has already threatened to de-rack First Choice if the
operator does not back down on its plans, which would see 80% of
its members’ commission payments cut (Travel Weekly September
10).

Global group operations director Andrew Botterill stressed the
group ATOL, launched this week and operational by the end of month,
is not a reaction to the expected cut in commissions but would
allow its members to compete.

Botterill said Global would fight tiered commissions and urged
agents to use the ATOL, which allows members to put their own
margin on holidays they package themselves.

“We would never allow a tour operator to tier our commissions,”
he warned. “As a group we still have our choice of strategic
partners and suppliers. But if operators want to cut out or get rid
of commissions, agents can say ‘we will do it
ourselves’.”

Botterill said the ATOL would also give agents the opportunity
to retain customers and improve their customer databases.

“It will help members do a better job, understand and keep the
consumer.”

The ATOL covers the group’s Globalrooms and
Globalairfaresonline.com and Destination2 systems. Globalrooms
covers 35,000 hotels worldwide and Globalairfares has access to
more than 75 airlines, including charter, consolidated and
no-frills carriers. The ATOL means members are licensed to carry
£30 million worth of business.

Around 400 members were expected to attend ATOL presentations
this week at the group’s Chester head office, which will
include presentations from a raft of tour operators.

The group plans to extend the ATOL to its Independent Options
members in January. However, Botterill said Global is looking at
potential interim solutions which will allow Independent Options
members access to the ATOL sooner.