Simpson Travel is launching a travel agent partnership scheme designed to increase sales through a core group of agents.

Managing director Peter Williams said the new Friends of Simpson club is open for applications to join before being launched in January with up to 45 agent members.

It is hoped the operator will not only be able to consolidate the business it currently does with the trade, which accounts for 15% of its total sales, but also prepare itself for growth plans scheduled for 2010.

Those joining the group will be given additional over-ride commissions on meeting set sales targets, while the operator is also considering holding two fams for members next year to Corsica and Majorca.

Williams said: “We want to work with a small number of independent agents who are interested in developing their business with us. We know who many of them will be as we’re already working with them. If there are other agents who want to join then we would be happy to hear from them.”

He added agents could earn good commission – the average cost of a Simpson Travel holiday is £960 – while he is still confident that, as a luxury specialist, the business will survive the economic problems.

Williams said: “It is a good opportunity to focus on our market. We are not discounting product, we don’t want to give away big early booking offers as we believe in the strength of our product and at the moment we are encouraged by our sales for next year.”

Williams made the comments as the operator launched five separate 2009 programmes covering Greece, Spain, Italy, Morocco and Corsica.