How To Increase Travel Agency Business Another Engine Selling Your Hotel
Appreciate Agents and Know Why Treat them like a top account – its revenue!! They book for you while you work your local market Be glad to pay their 10% commissions – thats it! Agents net your hotel a higher ADR than a negotiated rate Find out who they book for / know their clients They can significantly increase your revenue A direct link to a huge client base
How Do They Book? GDS Through the Global Distribution System The GDSs - there are four major competitors including Amadeus, Galileo/Apollo, Sabre and Worldspan who originated as private networks for use by travel agents to book flights, hotels and rental cars.
WHO and WHAT They DO? Have the ability to shop hotel products for leisure or business purposes. Travel agencies are one-stop shopping malls for travelers Travel agencies are the primary and lowest cost channel of distribution Travel agencies also account for approximately one-third of all hotel room sales and car rentals in the U.S. The four principal global distribution systems (GDSs) operating in the U.S. (Galileo, Sabre, Worldspan and Amadeus) provide the electronic infrastructure through which most of these transactions are processed. Make reservations for flights, hotel rooms and rental cars for clients and provide customer service through the process.
Understand Challenges Between Agencies and Hoteliers Divisiveness between agents and hoteliers is a result of poor understanding of how travel agencies operate. From the travel agents' point of view, the problem of commission payments involves three dimensions: making slow payments, not allowing agents to sell the full range of rooms and rates available, and making changes in reservations so the transaction is not attributed to an agent booking. Travel Weekly survey, although 13 percent of the agents polled said they frequently encountered hotels that refused to pay commissions, 63 percent said hoteliers had improved in that crucial area over the past two years.
Know Their Needs & Concerns Receiving a commission payment – its their paychecks. The hotel experience fails to meet a client's expectations, the agent is often held accountable. Glossy brochures and sales kits that stress image over information are not sufficient to enable an agent to sell a hotel or plan a meeting Need specific information on a propertys facilities, services and room types to be able to sell the hotels effectively to the client. Hotels can also make agents more effective salespeople by providing such basic information as worldwide reservation numbers, a list of sales offices, phone and fax numbers, computer-access codes, and central reservation affiliations. Be specific about commission policies--several chains now have a policy of advising agents at the time of booking whenever a particular rate is not commissionable.
Mistakes Hotels Make Being in competition with travel agents. Instead of allowing an agent to sell the hotel's full inventory, hotels negotiate rates directly with clients. Rebooking. Hotel policies damage that relationship when they allow room types and rates to be changed at the front desk thereby cutting the agent out of the process and their commission. "On a daily basis, agents book hotels for clients who then arrive at the hotel and are offered a cheaper rate. If a changed reservation is listed as a no-show, the agent loses the commission. THE AGENT IS NO LONGER JUST AN ORDER TAKER WHO SPENDS THE ENTIRE BUSINESS DAY MAKING BOOKINGS AT THE CLIENT'S DIRECTION. IN FACT, ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF AN AGENT'S DAY IS SPENT ACTUALLY MAKING RESERVATIONS. TRAVEL AGENTS, AS CONSULTANTS, SPEND MUCH OF THEIR TIME RESEARCHING TRAVEL PRODUCTS AND CONFERRING WITH CLIENTS. INCREASINGLY, AGENCY PERSONNEL ARE PART OF THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS. THEY RECOMMEND AND INFLUENCE THE HOTEL CHOICE FOR INDIVIDUAL BUSINESS TRAVELERS, LEISURE CLIENTS, AND GROUP BUSINESS OF ALL TYPES AND NEGOTIATE WITH TOP CLIENTS AND SUPPLIERS.
What is a consortia? Refers to a mega-agency or business travel agency. Examples of consortias are American Express Travel, Rosenbluth, Maritz & Thor 24 Book business travel Consortia rates can be sold to any segment. The key is to establish a preferred relationship with that agency just like top agencies
What is a Consortia? Mega Agencies American Express - 1,700 Agencies BCD Travel - 1,700 Agencies Carlson Wagonlit Travel Inc. - 2,700 AgenciesAmerican Express - 1,700 Agencies BCD Travel - 1,700 Agencies Carlson Wagonlit Travel Inc. - 2,700 Agencies Consortia Accounts ABC Corporate Services - 5,000 Agencies CCRA International - 22,000 Member Agencies Radius Global Travel Co. - 8,300 Agencies THOR - 3,000 Agencies Travel Acquisitions Group (formerly Carlson Leisure Group) - 1,700 AgenciesABC Corporate Services - 5,000 Agencies CCRA International - 22,000 Member Agencies Radius Global Travel Co. - 8,300 Agencies THOR - 3,000 Agencies Travel Acquisitions Group (formerly Carlson Leisure Group) - 1,700 Agencies
International Consortia International Consortia Deutsches Reiseburo (DER) - 1,200 Agencies FCm Travel Solutions (Flight Centre Limited) Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) - 350 Agencies Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) (formerly part of WorldTravel BTI) ITP - International Travel Partners - 500 Agencies Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) - 1,100 Agencies Worldwide Independent Network - 6,000 AgenciesDeutsches Reiseburo (DER) - 1,200 Agencies FCm Travel Solutions (Flight Centre Limited) Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) - 350 Agencies Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) (formerly part of WorldTravel BTI) ITP - International Travel Partners - 500 Agencies Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) - 1,100 Agencies Worldwide Independent Network - 6,000 Agencies International Consortias
American Express 90 years of travel experience and the single largest distributor of travel- related services 70% of Fortune 500 served (includes Card, Travel and joint clients) 43% of Corporate Travel 100 served Ranked #1 on Travel Weekly's 2006 Power List World's Largest Global Corporate Travel Agency (BTN) Industry's largest on-line business travel agency 10 years as an on-line provider with over 6 million transactions World's leading Corporate Travel Booking Website for 2005 - World Travel Awards Company Production Gross Booking Volume –$20.6 Billion –$3.2 Billion in Hotel Volume (USA) –19.6 Million Room Nights (USA) Example Agency Contributions
DO YOUR RESEARCH Review Top Agency Brand Reports Questions to ask: What kind of market penetration did I have in the consortia segment? Which agencies booked my hotel most? What accounts did they represent? Which agencies booked my competitors? What accounts did they represent? How did our hotel manage our consortia rates in previous years? Was there a focus on improving relationships, and gaining travel agent attention? At what level did I participate, and what level did my competitors participate? (No allotment? Last room availability?)
Contact GDS Dept. The property description is frequently the only resource a travel agent reads prior to recommending a hotel to a client. Copies of the property description that appears in the GDS to describe your hotel can be obtained from the GDS database department of your chain or representation company. Use that same opportunity to request, review and revise your hotels property description in the CRS.
Review Property Descriptions Check your reservation system description screens. This information is the only way a travel agent can describe your property. Often times changes can be made throughout the year. Things to consider are property descriptions, room descriptions, facilities, policies, directions, nearby attractions, services, amenities, etc… How appealing does your hotel look electronically? Information provided to the central reservation system for your hotel chain or representation company is copied automatically to all four of the GDSs It is critical to visit a travel agent and see how you appear in their system. Each of the GDS systems have different description loading, so checking all 4 of them is important. (Sabre, Worldspan, Galileo (Apollo), and Amadeus. Your hoteligence reports can show you where an agent is located that has the system you need. An individual hotel automatically participates in the GDS as part of their membership in a hotel brand. This base level involvement provides the display of available room types and the rates for those rooms, for any date(s) in the coming 12 months, and a display of an extensive description of the hotel.
Verify Agent Screen Info Visit local agency and ask: 1.Please pull up your hotel 2.Observe easy and convenience of finding your location 3.Review screens showing property description 4.Get Agents feedback 5.Make any corrections to description through your brands GDS dept.
GDS Systems There are currently four major GDS systems: Amadeus Galileo Sabre Worldspan
Info needed to load client rates 1.Agency name, Travel Mgr Name, Phone & Email 2. System they book in Amadeus Galileo Sabre Worldspan 3. Pseudo City Code (identifier code) 4. Three letter company access code Ex. American Efird (AME)
Annual Travel Agency Solicitation Per Brand – now automatic Opt In program annually Choice Hilton Wyndham Intercontinental Hampton With opt in program, our hotels are exposed in the GDS Network so our rooms can be sold at Best Available Rate.
Travel Agent Golden Rules Commitment to pay commissions timely Train personnel to refrain from criticizing travel agents in the presence of the client. Pay a commission on all published rates and packages, on additional room-nights, and on confirmed reservations that an overbooked hotel is forced to walk. All non-commissionable rates are noted in the central reservation system. Work with agents within a 100-to-500-mile radius of your property to develop commissionable packages that the agents can sell. Hotels should pursue them and treat them like they appreciate them. Offer Agents a discount at your hotels for their personal use. RECOGNITION AND THANKS STILL GO A LONG WAY,
Suggestions To Increase Business Familiarization trips, commonly called FAM trips, are a cost-effective sales tool and can be offered based on availability. Hoteliers should take advantage of the time an agent spends at their property by creating an educational program that includes a thorough site inspection and personal introductions to key sales staff. When individual agents request a free or discounted room, offer it on the condition that they take a tour of the hotel. check all credentials to be sure you are hosting a legitimate agent. As professionals in the business of selling well-run services, agents will understand the caution you take in qualifying their stay. Conduct telemarketing calls monthly thanking the agencies for booking your hotels. Then What? 1. Thank them 2. Find out who the Office Manager is and introduce yourself. Find out how many agents on site. 3. Send Powerpoint Presentation showcasing your hotel. Ask Office Manager to distribute it to all agents. 4. Build rapport and learn about the clients they book for. 5. Check arrivals daily. Have Front Desk to change agency name to company/organization name. 6. Conduct agency presentations and provide lunch to all agents – make friends! 7. Utilize any brand programs and incentives to targeted agencies who have potential clients. 8. Provide them your contact info in case they have issues with making reservations.
How important is electronic distribution as a means of gaining reservations? The number of reservations flowing to hotels through the electronic distribution channels – the global distribution systems and the Internet – is growing steadily. The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) reported that in 1999 the global distribution systems delivered over 43 million bookings with a value in excess of $12.5 billion. GDS booking growth continues at about 10 percent a year. Everyone has his or her own stories of the impact of the Internet. Some large chains are experiencing 200-300 percent growth annually. Some small, boutique properties report that over 75 percent of their bookings now come from the Web. As a hotel sales and marketing professional your limited resources are allocated to presenting your property in the sales channels that will be the most productive for you--be they print ads, direct mail, public relations, sales calls or electronic distribution channel participation and advertising. You strive to select the most cost-effective and compelling channels that will in turn bring guests into your hotels.. Narrowing the focus to the electronic distribution channels, the two broadest categories are global distribution systems (GDS) and Internet web sites.
How Its Up To You Always remember to ask your clients how they book their business If they use an agency, you must get their corporate rate loaded so agency can book you Learn everything you can about this business It can be a WIN WIN partnership