Car hire brand Holiday Autos is reacting to what it calls “aggressive pricing” from direct-sell operations by introducing a new net-rate tool for the trade on its website.
The move follows a major review of operations by the Lastminute.com-owned company and will kick off with the launch of a dedicated website on 13 March.
Holiday Autos will start the switch by maintaining current commission levels but with a “dislocated pricing structure”, allowing agents to see trade prices for the first time.
The full net-rate system on Trade.holidayautos.co.uk, allowing agents to manage their own margins and commission levels, will be in place by July this year.
Commercial director Ian Coyle said the tactics employed by direct-sell companies had triggered the need for a “fundamental shift” in its dealings with the trade.
“We believe that the net rate model is the direction the whole travel industry is moving in, and we want to be at the forefront in the car rental market,” Coyne explained.
“Holiday Autos remains 110% committed to the travel trade which we believe is clear by the significant investment we have made in designing these new tools for our agent partners.”
Sales manager for Holiday Autos have spent the last two weeks visiting trade partners ahead of the overhaul.
Coyle said: “We expect the majority of our larger trade partners to move to the net rate management tool when it’s launched in the summer as it offer agents the chance to manage their own margins and pricing.
“After all agents know what their customers will pay and through these three options they can manage their price expectations.”
One of the leading trade partners, Triton, has already pledged to support the switch.
“We’re delighted to already have full support from Triton, one of our largest trade partners,” Coyne said.
“We believe that this is great testament to the strength of Holiday Autos’ relationships with agents and highlights the innovative spirit of our business as we give agents the chance to control their own margin destiny.”