Did you hear about the changes with the “Soon Come Back” program at Sandals? In case you have been living under a rock for the past two weeks, I will clue you in. In the past, if a client re-booked a vacation while at the resort, the original agent received the booking and the full commission. Now, if the client re-books, the agent can take over the booking (with client’s authorization) and will only receive a flat 10% commission. If this sudden shift in policy has you upset—get over it!
For the past two weeks, agents have been whining (yes, that is what has been happening) over this change in a policy that likely affects very few agents. It’s unbecoming for a professional and if you spent half the effort researching the impact and a resolution, it likely would become a moot point.
Work around it
First of all, ask yourself how many of your Sandals clients re-book on site? My agency sends about 60 clients a year to Beaches for a week in August. We have been doing it for 13 years and have had 3 clients take advantage of it—all in one year. Why? Because I have “trained” my clients to check with me before committing to any travel as a solo parent with their kids. Why did those three book direct? The resort put some pressure on them and offered them a $150 spa credit. When I found out, I claimed the reservation. I also told them that in the future, if the resort offered an incentive, I would match it. I figured it was worth it to me to lose $150 from the commission than to risk having the client consider not booking with me. So if it is such a big deal, match the incentive! Yes, the cost comes from your commission, but it’s a heck of a lot better than a flat 10%, right? Cost of trip is $8500. Commission at 16% is $1360. $1360-$150=$1210. Commission at 10% is $850. Problem mitigated.
Maybe they don’t like you
While this may seem foreign to you, some of your customers may not want you to handle their travel any longer and this is an easy, non-confrontational way out. I can’t help but recall the statistic from Carnival Cruise Lines several years ago regarding repeat passengers. A full 80% of second time cruisers did not book their cruise via the same channel as the first. It may not be you. It may be your client. Or something else entirely. For me, my clients get re-married or their kids grow older and I never see them again—and I am OK with that. If that is the case, you need to figure out how to replace that client and the accompanying income!
When push comes to shove, Sandals will do what is best for Sandals. Just as the airlines and cruise lines will do what is best for them. Are you in business to backpedal on your policies because a customer whines?
Do what you do best and it will all work out. If you are the stellar agent you claim to be, there is nothing to worry about—the client will come running back to you to give you their business. If not, you need to figure out how to replace the income. Maybe you need to kick up your service a notch. Maybe you need to look at a different niche or specialty. Maybe you need to look at a different supplier. Regardless of what needs to be done, you need to do it. After all, it is your business; and ultimately you are responsible if it fails or succeeds—not Butch Stewart and his fiscally sound (if I say so myself) policy that you just happen to not like. Stop whining!