TWgroup editor Lucy HuxleyThere was a lot to come out of the ITT conference this week to put a smile on agents’ faces.


Most significant, I guess, was the chief of Thomas Cook announcing a bunch of new shop openings, having recognised that nothing can compete with face-to-face selling, particularly in the early sales market.


That fact has not been lost on Kuoni, Teletext and Gills Cruise Centre either, all of which opened new shops on the high street this week.


There was further good news for the trade from top design agency Seymour Powell, which told the travel industry its people were its most valuable resource and urged it to use them more creatively to meet clients’ ever-increasing demand for honest and impartial advice.


Hays Travel’s investment in new customer relationship management technology will also provide agents with a powerful new tool to serve customers’ needs better.


Not only will they be able to show how much they value their customers by demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of their preferences, they will also be able to cut back the need for discounts.


It is all about the personal touch. As Thomas Cook’s Manny Fontenla-Novoa pointed out, the service levels offered by his staff are now the best way to stand out from the crowd.


“If we do something good, people copy it; if they do something, we copy it. So the only place for differentiation, where I can win the battle, is through service, and that comes from our people,” he said.


It’s good to hear the top brass echoing the ethos behind Travel Weekly’s new look and direction – our industry is all about you.