On Friday morning last, Matt Corcoran of King Travel and Richard Cullen of Killiney Travel received emails from Dominic Burke, Managing Director of Travel Centres, advising each of them that their membership had been “terminated with immediate effect”.
The emails said: “At a specially convened meeting of the Advisory Board of Travel Centres which took place yesterday, it was decided to address the issue of agents who have not been keeping up to date with their membership fees as it was deemed unfair to the vast majority of agents who are compliant in this matter each year. Regretfully, I must inform you that your membership of Travel Centres has been terminated with immediate effect and all preferred suppliers to the group have been notified of same.”
Dominic Burke told Irish Travel Trade News: “This is purely an internal matter that I prefer not to comment on at the moment.”
Matt Corcoran told ITTN: “As far as I am concerned we have been kicked out. I got a phone call from my staff on Friday advising me about the email, which I didn’t like. Why didn’t Dominic call me and suggest that we meet?
“I hadn’t paid my membership fees because I have been dissatisfied with what we were getting for the €600+ annual fee while not getting paid commission. I had spoken with some other members, prominent retail agents in suburban Dublin, and found that they also felt that they were not getting value for money.
“Three of us subsequently met with Mary King and a Travelsavers member a month or so ago (a fourth was unable to attend at the last minute) and I had also spoken with Don Shearer of Worldchoice Ireland. However, no decisions had been made and there was no rush to decide at all as our offices were busy, then all of a sudden we get the email.
“However, I am glad that Dominic has brought out the issue. I am now out of Travel Centres and I am glad that I am out.”
Richard Cullen added: “I am rather bewildered by this. Yes, we had an exploratory meeting with Travelsavers – which we were quite entitled to do – but I hadn’t decided whether to move or not. I am most hurt that Dominic didn’t call me, but just sent an email on Friday having held a meeting of the Advisory Board on the Thursday afternoon after arriving back from China. I had sent payment last March and had got another invoice for the membership fee, but had yet to pay it because I had yet to decide whether to continue membership.”