Gold Medal Travel has recruited travel agents to test its revamped trade website.
The move forms part of the operator’s efforts to work more closely with the trade.
It is overhauling goldmedal.co.uk for a September relaunch.
Head of trade relations Lee Marshall said: “We want to use the agents as guinea pigs to trial the new system. So far agents have told us they don’t mind the look of the site, but it’s the information on it that needs changing.”
He added: “We are now listening to agents after a period of complacency about a year ago. If we do not listen to them, we lose their confidence.”
Gold Medal also plans a separate site, pureluxuryholidays.com, dedicated to its new Pure Luxury brand. This will have a separate log-in for agents.
The operator plans to host five dinners nationwide to enable discussion with select groups of 20 agents about the luxury brand. It is now considering the launch of luxury sub-brands in the ski, city breaks and family sectors. Currently 75% of bookings for the operator’s luxury holidays come through the trade and it is a “booming” area, said Marshall.
Meanwhile, the operator is in talks with consortia to roll out its Travel TV service in more agencies and with ‘non-conflicting’ operators to provide alternative content.
So far, 175 agencies have signed up for plasma screens to enable the service. Gold Medal aims to have 1,000 by the end of the year.
Sales and marketing director Ruth Connor said: “We are embarking on a recruitment drive for more independent agents and have already begun a marketing campaign. We’ve had a good response so far.”
Both Worldchoice and the Travel Trust Association have expressed an interest in the TVs. There is no cost for the plasma screens if agents hit Gold Medal’s sales targets.