Travel Weekly says

Richard Siddle

All eyes are on Thomson

IF there were any lingering doubts that Thomson was to buckle under pressure and back down from its direct-selling, commission-cutting strategy, then the events of this week blow them away.

Whether you agree with Thomson’s stance or not, you have to admire how quickly it is implementing fundamental changes to not only how it runs its business but how its employees are expected to get sales.

Thomson claims to be three years ahead of schedule with half of its bookings now made online.

Its web business is twice that of its big four rivals and its direct sales are expected to account for nearly three- quarters of all bookings by the end of the year.

It is now asking its agents to educate customers to drive its direct sales up even further by showing them how to go through the online booking process.

Thomson argues this is in no way asking agents to talk themselves out of a job as clients will want to come back and talk to agents and research holidays in the shops.

But to convince customers to use the shops in this way, Thomson will have to transform the retail experience it is offering. Otherwise clients have no other reason than to use at home.

It is a bold step but could result in a new breed of high-street agency – perhaps something like a consultant Internet travel café.

It is a retail offer that Thomson has to get right or otherwise it will soon be supporting a shop network its customers no longer have use for.

We’re on the ball

THERE are only 21 days until the World Cup.

To get you in the mood, we’ve teamed up with sister company, DG&G, and recruitment company, C&M, to bring you our own Fantasy World Cup game.

From today, you can go to and pick your very own dream team. There is even a lucky dip option for those who don’t know anything about football.

There are loads of prizes on offer, so if you can’t wait until June 9, you can start playing now.

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