Thomas Cook-owned adventure brand Neilson Adventures has more than doubled the number of agents it is sold through under a deal with The Co-operative Travel Trading Group.
The deal means the adventure specialist now sells through more than 1,700 agents, described by the company as a “huge step” in terms of trade sales of adventure holidays, traditionally sold mostly through direct to consumer channels.
The company stressed the deal was completely unrelated to the proposed merger of Thomas Cook and The Co-operative Travel Group, currently being reviewed by the Competition Commission.
Until now Neilson Adventures has been sold through around 700 agents, mainly parent company’s Thomas Cook shops and some independents. Around 30% of its products are sold through the trade.
Under the deal, it will now be offered for sale through the 668 agents and 380 homeworkers comprising The Co-operative Travel’s high-street agents, The Co-operative Personal Travel Advisors, Freedom Travel Group, Midlands Co-op and Midcounties Co-op agents.
Commercial manager Karl Bolton said: “Most adventure tour operators just don’t have this sort of reach; this is a huge step forward for the adventure world and agents are desperate to sell this kind of product. Suddenly we have 20% of Britain’s travel agents selling our products. Many adventure operators don’t even sell through the trade.”
He said the company’s homeworkers were expected to have customers that would be a good fit for the operator’s product range.
The operator is now planning to run a training programme across the CTTG’s staff on its products and also plans educationals for agency staff.