An additional question for you:
Do travel agents definitely always get the best price? Is there some kind of price guarantee made by the suppliers to travel agents? Can travel agents confidently tell their clients “this is the best price you will find anywhere?”
Thanks for the help.
This is a good question, and one I get quite often!
I can’t say with any certainty what kind of guarantees a supplier can/will provide to a travel agent. This will depend on each individual supplier. While a supplier may not offer a guarantee on providing the lowest price, many may offer a price match if you have a client who can find a lower price for a trip somewhere else, such as an online travel agency (OTA).
Whether or not a travel agent extends that kind of guarantee to a client is at their own discretion. But a good thing to consider beyond the price tag on a trip is the value an agent provides a client.
Travel agents who belong to a host agency, franchise, or consortia will benefit from strong supplier relationships; those organizations are able to negotiate with their aggregate buying power. These supplier relationships amount to higher commissions in a host/franchise/consortia supplier contract, which they can then extend to their independent contractors.
But, how can the financial benefits of these contracts trickle down to your clients? Another benefit of these relationships is that an agent may be able to offer a client an upgrade or add-on. Or, a supplier might run a special through the host agency, franchise, or consortia that their contractors would have access to.
What this amounts to is great service and value, even if it’s not the lowest sticker price. Instead of focusing on the price tag only, it’s good to also consider the value of the services an agent offers their client . . . how they save clients time and money in other ways.
Travelers spend a bonkers amount of time researching, planning and booking trips that travel agents can do in a snap (well, a relative snap) with their experience. Here’s a few tools to reference the some of the benefits of agents over OTAs:
- Using a Travel Agent vs. Booking Online
- 3 Real-Life Ways Travel Agents Save You Money (That expedia.com Can’t)
This is my long way of saying that I highly support agents to take a broader view of the value they provide clients beyond price!
I hope that helps! Good luck!
Mary Stein joined Host Agency Reviews in 2016 as its editor. She’s passionate about supporting aspiring travel agents to turn their dreams into their livelihood.
A writer by trade, she can be found working on her novel and teaching creative writing workshops when she’s not tooling around on Host Agency Reviews writing articles and newsletters.
She has received awards for her writing from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation and the Loft Literary Center. She lives in Minneapolis, and loves hiking, camping, and traveling (of course!).