Partnership director Lee Marshall said the business, which includes brands such as Inspiring Travel Company, Regent Holidays, Western & Oriental and Villa Select, would be “re-engineering how we recognise and nurture travel agent business”.
A new agent advisory panel will be drawn from a select group of 40-50 of ITC’s closest agents with four sessions of 10-12 agents held regionally with a handful of suppliers, with the group spending the night at a hotel. “The idea is to really understand each other and how we can mutually drive business,” Marshall said.
He also promised 10 “quality trips to destinations agents want to experience”, in 2018, including Sweden, Canada, Namibia, Thailand and a US ranch trip.
Around 30 of ITC’s elite agents have also already received “white label” brochures, which they can personalise and send to clients during the upcoming peak-booking season. “We will be working much closer with fewer partners to nurture deeper relationships,” he said. “Hosting a dinner and giving an award is one thing – and we will still do that. But this will be a much deeper process.”
The business threshold for ITC’s range of elite agents will be those who book more than £250,000 across its brands. “The luxury market is a crowded place to be and there are lots of operators doing similar things,” said Marshall. “We’re going to be stepping off that merry-go-round.”
Marshall said 2018 would also see ITC develop a larger focus on cruise: “We see the opportunity as significant.”