Funway is to ditch direct sales following an “amazing” year with its trade partners.
The US specialist will no longer take any direct bookings that come via its call centre and will instead sell solely through agents.
Sales director Amanda Darrington said that while the operator had never “courted” direct business, some customers would phone its call centre team.
Direct sales make up less than 5% of the operator’s total sales.
Funway is the second major operator in recent weeks to announce plans to focus 100% on the trade, after Carnival Cruise Line confirmed the UK office would sell only through agents from 2017.
“We have never pushed direct sales but would get a few coming through to our call centre,” said Darrington. “But as of last week, our staff have been briefed not to take any direct bookings.
“It was so frustrating that we couldn’t say we were a 100% trade-only brand, but now we can.
“We’ve had an amazing year with our trade partners. I want to thank the agents who have shown their commitment to us; now we’re showing it back.”
The news comes on the back of Funway’s ‘500 Club’ agent incentive scheme, unveiled last week, in which members receive enhanced commission, fam trip places and exclusive brochure previews.
Agents who work closely with Funway will be invited to join, but anyone can request to sign up.
Point-of-sale material has also been updated with new destination posters “clearly showing what Funway specialises in”.
Darrington said Funway had had an “exceptional” 2016, with strong growth in New York, Las Vegas, Florida and Mexico.
“If customers want to go to the US or the Caribbean then we want agents to think of Funway, hence rolling out the 500 Club and going 100% trade-only,” she said.