Hays Travel has announced an average hike of 3% in commission paid to all its agents and the abolition of non-commissionables on sales of major tour operators for summer 2008.

Managing director John Hays said the group’s sales performance across its Hays Travel, Independence Group and homeworking staff had paid off, with increased blanket deals with the major tour operators for all its agents.

All sales of Thomas Cook, Airtours, Thomson and First Choice holidays will also now be fully commissionable.

Announcing the news at the Independence Group conference in Tenerife, Hays said: “We are thrilled by this result. We have a huge advantage over others in the marketplace.”

He put the reason for the hike down to the group’s ability to control its distribution and send out deals to all its agents quickly because they all work on the same system.

“If a tour operator makes a deal with us we can have it on agents’ desktops in seconds. It’s our ability to deliver that’s put us in this position,” added Hays.

The situation is a turnaround on two years ago when Thomson cut its base commission for independent agents to 7% . The tour operator recently approached Hays to set up a fresh deal.

Hays dismissed accusations that the group was a traitor for working with Thomson again and said maintaining dialogue with the operator had left it in a strong position. “Thomson came back to the table of its own accord and we were in a powerful position to negotiation with them,” he said.

Meanwhile, the group is continuing to negotiate with First Choice regarding its online discounts. Commercial manager Andrea Kendal said: “First Choice has said it will not consider changing this at this time, but it will always be on the agenda.”