Kuoni plans to install holiday ‘concept boxes’ and inspirational areas in its stores to transform the way its agents interact with customers.

The operator, which opened its 13th shop in its home town of Dorking, Surrey, this week, will train all shop staff next month on new ways to sell holidays, including the Travel Compass box.

This contains image cards of holiday types, such as a couple on a beach, and places, such as Sydney Opera House.

The boxes – already used by Kuoni in Switzerland and Holland – help customers build a picture of the holiday they want. On the back of each image is information to help agents match the right holiday to the customer. It will be in five stores initially from April.

Derek Jones, distribution and operations vice-president, said Kuoni had worked with psychologists and motivational speakers, and had held workshops to devise new ways to meet customers’ needs.

He said: “It’s not a magic box that gives all the answers but it’s a tool that facilitates dialogue with the customer. We also tested putting the Travel Compass on an iPad, but the wooden box came out best.”

Other changes will be showcased by Kuoni’s Cambridge store, due to open this spring. It will include an ‘inspirational area’ where agents talk to clients about their lifestyles and what they want from a holiday. Traditional desks will be replaced with one large desk and there will be fewer brochure racks.

“It’s about creating a very different environment to reflect what we are about,” said Jones. On Wednesday actress Virginia McKenna, founder of international wildlife charity  Born Free Foundation, opened Kuoni’s shop in Dorking.