Daniele Broccoli is a partner at Britaly Travel and director of Typical Italian Holidays

Daniele Broccoli, partner, Britaly Travel and director, Typical Italian HolidaysIn recent weeks I’ve been visiting travel agents to promote our tour operator product. But with my 24-year background as a retail agent, who still works on the counter today, the conversation swiftly moves on.

It is clear that most high-street agencies are honest, hard-working, family-run businesses that take pride in what they do and have helped put many operators and airlines on the map.

At long last I think we are standing together and fighting back – I don’t see so many brochures on the racks from so-called friends who, on every page, encourage booking direct or online to get a cheaper deal.

I don’t mind operators selling direct as long as it’s on a level playing field. Please don’t use the excuse that it’s cheaper to sell direct to the public when you give 15%-20% discounts and only 10% to agents happy to use a computer system rather than a heavily manned call centre.

So, to fellow agents sitting behind their desks with a pile of paperwork while reading this – we are starting to win the battle.

To the operators which do support us, we will continue to support you. But those which don’t (you know who you are), remember there is a good agency in most towns. It’s going to get cold out there for you guys – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon.

Oh, and to some of the cruise boys – stop mailing our customers direct when they return home, because one day your market will stop expanding and you will need friends to fill your shiny new ships.