2How To Increase Travel Agency Business Another Engine Selling Your Hotel
3Appreciate Agents and Know Why Treat them like a top account – it’s revenue!!They book for you while you work your local marketBe glad to pay their 10% commissions – that’s it!Agents net your hotel a higher ADR than a negotiated rateFind out who they book for / know their clientsThey can significantly increase your revenueA direct link to a huge client base
4How Do They Book? GDS Through the Global Distribution System The GDS’s - 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.
5WHO and WHAT They DO?Have the ability to shop hotel products for leisure or business purposes.Travel agencies are one-stop shopping malls for travelersTravel agencies are the primary and lowest cost channel of distributionTravel 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.
6Understand 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.
7Know Their Needs & Concerns Receiving a commission payment – it’s 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 meetingNeed specific information on a property’s 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.
8Mistakes Hotels MakeBeing 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.
10What is a consortia?Refers to a mega-agency or business travel agency.Examples of consortia’s are American Express Travel, Rosenbluth, Maritz & Thor 24Book business travelConsortia rates can be sold to any segment.The key is to establish a “preferred relationship” with that agency just like top agencies
11What is a Consortia? Mega Agencies American Express - 1,700 Agencies BCD Travel - 1,700 Agencies Carlson Wagonlit Travel Inc. - 2,700 AgenciesConsortia AccountsABC 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
12International Consortias International Consortia International ConsortiaDeutsches Reiseburo (DER) - 1,200 Agencies FCm Travel Solutions (Flight Centre Limited) Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) Agencies Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) (formerly part of WorldTravel BTI) ITP - International Travel Partners Agencies Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) - 1,100 Agencies Worldwide Independent Network - 6,000 Agencies
13Example Agency Contributions American Express90 years of travel experience and the single largest distributor of travel-related services70% of Fortune 500 served (includes Card, Travel and joint clients)43% of Corporate Travel 100 servedRanked #1 on Travel Weekly's 2006 Power ListWorld's Largest Global Corporate Travel Agency (BTN)Industry's largest on-line business travel agency10 years as an on-line provider with over 6 million transactionsWorld's leading Corporate Travel Booking Website for World Travel AwardsCompany ProductionGross Booking Volume$20.6 Billion$3.2 Billion in Hotel Volume (USA)19.6 Million Room Nights (USA)
14Review Top Agency Brand Reports DO YOUR RESEARCHReview Top Agency Brand ReportsQuestions 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?)
15Contact GDS Dept.The property description is frequently the only resource a travel agent readsprior to recommending a hotel to a client. Copies of the property descriptionthat appears in the GDS to describe your hotel can be obtained from theGDS database department of your chain or representation company. Usethat same opportunity to request, review and revise your hotel’s propertydescription in the CRS.
16Review 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 GDSsIt 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.
17Verify Agent Screen Info Visit local agency and ask:Please pull up your hotelObserve easy and convenience of finding your locationReview screens showing property descriptionGet Agent’s feedbackMake any corrections to description through your brand’s GDS dept.
18GDS Systems There are currently four major GDS systems: Amadeus Galileo Sabre Worldspan
19Info needed to load client rates Agency name, Travel Mgr Name, Phone &2. System they book inAmadeus Galileo Sabre Worldspan3. Pseudo City Code (identifier code)4. Three letter company access codeEx. American Efird (AME)
20Annual Travel Agency Solicitation Per Brand – now automatic “Opt In” program annuallyChoiceHiltonWyndhamIntercontinentalHamptonWith opt in program, our hotels are exposed in theGDS Network so our rooms can be sold at Best Available Rate.
21Travel Agent Golden Rules Commitment to pay commissions timelyTrain 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,
22Suggestions 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 them2. 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.
23How 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 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.
24It can be a WIN WIN partnership How It’s Up To YouAlways remember to ask your clients how they book their businessIf they use an agency, you must get their corporate rate loaded so agency can book youLearn everything you can about this businessIt can be a WIN WIN partnership