Bales Worldwide has launched a preferred agents’ scheme aimed at rewarding travel agents who sell more of its product.

Sales and marketing director Iain Fenton said the operator wanted to avoid costly arrangements with consortia, which would force Bales Worldwide to reward agents who rarely sell its holidays.

Instead, he said the new preferred scheme will allow Bales Worldwide, which has no commercial arrangements with any consortia, to work closely with agents who are familiar with their product. In return, the agents will receive better commission rates.

Fenton said: “We prefer to talk directly to agents rather than go through a consortium’s head office. We’ve got agent partners who sell our product that understand and know it.

“The market’s getting tough, everyone’s under pressure on price. Customers in our market are looking for value which a knowledgeable agent can offer. More operators are talking about this and are reviewing the way they control the product.”

Agents only need to make one booking with the operator to join the scheme. Once they are members they will receive monthly e-mail updates, personalised marketing support including flyers and mailshots, branch visits and access to the new Bales Worldwide agent website.

There will also be an agency of the month competition. The winning agency will receive £100 in vouchers or an evening out for the shop’s staff.

Top-selling retailers in the scheme will attain platinum status which will see themreceive quarterly branch visits from Bales Worldwide sales staff, a guaranteed educational place each year and entrance into a quarterly draw with prizes including spa days and theatre trips to the value of £250.