Mass market operator Cosmos will be a dedicated trade-only brand following a review by parent company Monarch Travel Group.
The company said the decision could lead to closer relationships with agents, with more dedicated or over-branded brochures for big-volume retailers.
Until now 35% of Cosmos’s sales have come direct from consumers – these will now be sold under the Monarch name through a new Monarch Holidays brand, Monarch Hotels and Monarch Flights.
Travel Weekly revealed exclusively that the group was reviewing its brands Monarch Airlines, Cosmos Holidays, somewhere2stay.com, Cosmos Tourama, Avro and Archers Direct (June 21 2007).
The group will operate separate direct and trade brands after it found unprompted awareness of Monarch’s brand was far higher than for Cosmos. Somewhere2stay.com and Avro Flights will also be trade-only.
Cosmos product and commercial director Stuart Jackson denied the decision was linked to declining package sales. He said: “We are not seeing a decline in package holidays. Agents will still come back to operators to sell packages, whether it’s for Luxor, the Gambia or villa holidays.”
Jackson conceded the move could lead to closer agent ties. “If it turns into more working relationships and business that’s fantastic,” he said.
The move would eradicate the age-old agent complaint of operators selling cheaper holidays direct under the same brand name, he added.
He said: “Distrust was generated between agents and operators because of different prices. From now, the best Cosmos prices will be through the agent.
“Cosmos will only be marketed in the retail sector and prices will be dedicated to that sector. We will not compete with the trade in the direct arena.”
Direct phone numbers and website details will be removed from future second-edition Cosmos brochures.
Jackson said the group now viewed itself as a ‘travel provider’ rather than a tour operator.