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Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again  
User currently offlineETStar From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 7
Posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5320 times:

I am either noticing a pattern or I am not the ideal customer for a travel agent. For the second year in a row, I am being shunned by travel agencies from all four corners of North America, with me approaching them thinking that they would be the best outlets for economical fares to Africa. Here's how things have transpired:
- I call this place in Vancouver, a place I had dealt with before. Multiple calls are met with "the man that specializes in that market is not in, leave your info he will call you back". He never has. I did get hold of him once though (and this was for a trip last year), where he said that, for me, he would even get me a free ticket to Dubai. Right. I am well aware of the "free ticket" beyond Addis Ababa specials on Ethiopian Airlines, where one buys a ticket beyond Addis Ababa, and Addis is the stopover.
- This other outfit [or misfit] which has phone numbers all across the country but operates out Los Angeles, and which I did also deal with a few years ago, spits out sales flyers for the market I am interested in every other day, but has no single seat available (I know the limited seats drill folks ...). At least that's how it is after 8-10 repeated calls and speaking to the same person who suddenly forgets that we had a conversation just two days ago.
- Another place in Toronto really wanted to know how I heard of them, down to a personal level. I even thought I had called an illegal establishment that needed to know who I was. Oh, I never heard back from them with a fare quote.
- A place I called locally, in Calgary, had the guy give me a price as though he was regurgitating it. He almost did not get me to finish explaining my trip requirements before he barfed out a fare and routing that did not make sense.
- Finally, a well known chain which appears to only have agents with Australian accents [the company may be based in Australia] and has stores in malls across the country has not lived up to "let's take your details and we'll call you back" claim for 5+ years. Walkins to their red-carpeted locations ain't that great either.

So tell me folks, in this era where we all know that airlines have cut back on commissions and travel agencies can charge services fees that people like myself are willing to pay for, why is it that there is such lack of service? I am not in a position where my hands are tied, and I cannot find a ticket online, but I still wish to know what fares the traditional travel agent can get me. Have travel agencies evolved into a line of business I am not aware of (missed out on?)

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSh0rtybr0wn From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 528 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5286 times:

Thats kind of rough, but can't you book it yourself online like the rest of us?

User currently offlineETStar From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5250 times:

Quoting Sh0rtybr0wn (Reply 1):
Thats kind of rough, but can't you book it yourself online like the rest of us?

I can. As I stated, I simply wish to check what the traditional TAs have. For the market I am looking for, the TAs are supposedly the place where one gets lowest fares. Agents at Air Canada, Emirates and Lufthansa also seem to agree. Otherwise, I buy all my other tickets online.


User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3432 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5202 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
So tell me folks, in this era where we all know that airlines have cut back on commissions and travel agencies can charge services fees that people like myself are willing to pay for, why is it that there is such lack of service?

Some people tend to fall into a comfort zone where they have absolutely no respect for their existing- or any prospective customers, thus no service. Second of all they live under the illusion that they are "doing so well" that they do not care for your business. However, in real life the soft, comfortable rug tend to be pulled out from under you, just when you get too comfortable and do nothing to maintain your business – this happens in all sectors.

In my city, agents at outlets of the well-known Australian chain company, tend to fall over their feet to help new-and existing customers. In one outlet there are 6 agents and they are working their butts off. Customers have the option of booking online and bypassing travel agents and I have also done so in the past. However, when my itinerary gets to 12 sectors on 4 different airliners or when I need to book a “round-the-world fare”, I always return to the “red carpet store” and I am always welcomed back by all of the agents.

We have also had agents, from other travel agencies, come by the practice in order to introduce themselves and leave business cards. These people are hungry for business. It seems as if some of their North American counterparts are not...


Best of luck

SA7700

[Edited 2007-10-01 07:43:26]


When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8045 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5172 times:

The TA business has changed a lot over the years - and it hasn't been for the best.

Once the commissions from the airlines were dropped it became necessary for them to charge for their efforts and even then they had to hold their fees to a reasonable amount in order for the average customer to agree to pay. If you have a complicated flight schedule then things are a bit more difficult as it would call for more work on their part and, therefore higher fees for you.

What I found was that I had to work out the flights I wanted to be on for a specific trip, check out the hotels for layovers and then basically a completed package over to a TA. When I finally went with RTW tickets (as old as I am it is easter to only fly east to west) I would work out a spreadsheet of all flights. Day, Date, Airline, Flt #, From, To, Departure & Arrival times, plus a column for notes. I must admit that all flight schedules maximized the FF points I would be building up, but I generally ended up where I needed to be when I needed to be there. When the schedule was set it was reviewed & approved by the airline ticket office I would then start working on hotels. At each stop I would do the research on the internet to work out where I wanted to stay. Most of these rooms I booked my self over the internet - it's just easier.

So where are the TAs focused these days. Lots are in the cruise line business and others are the "Travel Department" for companies that don't what to have their own. Large companies can easily pay for the skills of the TA and avoid the hassles of using their won employees. For the average person I think that the best place to find a viable TA would be the local AAA office or a small, local TA office. Pay for the advice and, if things work out well for you then you'll be on first name basis with the guys & gals at these offices by your second trip.


User currently offlineRdwootty From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2005, 901 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5144 times:

Just another side of this ... The traveller wants a complicated stopover itinerary and calls the agent.. The fare is quoted and the booking made....the credit card is used for the payment....the customer fly's off.....the credit card is queried by the card company, this can be up to 6 months afteer the event ....the payment is then redebited and the agency loses out....Not saying this is you but why not go into the agency and do this face to face then I am sure you will not have the problem.

User currently offlineBNEFlyer From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 213 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 5013 times:

Wow, that's really rough. You'd think that if you are going on such a route that may cost a few buck they'd be more than happy to do the booking for you!

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
- Finally, a well known chain which appears to only have agents with Australian accents [the company may be based in Australia] and has stores in malls across the country has not lived up to "let's take your details and we'll call you back" claim for 5+ years. Walkins to their red-carpeted locations ain't that great either.

I know exactly who you're talking about. I live in their home city and it seems that the agencies here are like 7-11 or McD's, they're everywhere - 14 stores in the CBD alone! I think I have received ok service once in one of their stores. I find that they dont really try to look for fares on any other airline than the home grown/local ones (QF/NZ).

I now go to a travel agency that is aimed at students, however offer fares to everyone. My TA there has found fares on 3 occasions for both myself and my mother that were cheaper than the airlines direct or a 3rd party website. And no, they're main colour is not Blue'. I wont be going back to them again!

Good luck with you fare search, hope you find a great deal on a tops airline!


User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3432 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4866 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting SA7700 (Reply 3):
Customers have the option of booking online and bypassing travel agents and I have also done so in the past.

Yesterday I was browsing the airlines websites for fares over the Christmas holiday and New Year. The "Australian travel agency" gave me a cheaper fare, for the exact same flights, than on the airline's own website.


Rgds

SA7700



When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4811 times:

First of all, I'll start by saying that your experiences cannot be excused - that's no way to deal with prospective clients unless, and I've got no reason to think you were doing that, the client very obviously gives the impression that he's just calling to waste time or let you do the searching to be able to book the same flights online later... and even in those cases (which are, unfortunately, extremely frequent these days) I do not consider it acceptable.

Nonetheless...

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
I did also deal with a few years ago, spits out sales flyers for the market I am interested in every other day, but has no single seat available (I know the limited seats drill folks ...).

Not sure how differently it works in the North American market, but over here, the airlines are actually the ones doing that: some will, at least once a week or every second week, send us a special fare that is impossible to book: some even go as far as offering us a marketing bonus to make a (completely unavailable) fare known to the general public. We're not the ones controlling the airline's inventories, they do that themselves...

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
At least that's how it is after 8-10 repeated calls and speaking to the same person who suddenly forgets that we had a conversation just two days ago.

Again, it obviously shouldn't be that way - but, since I do not know which company you're talking about: could it be that it's not just an office of a couple of people that only take 5-10 calls each day, but perhaps either a business with a high volume of calls or even a callcenter? Believe me - after talking with around 100 people a day, you won't much remember who you spoke to the evening of that particular day, not to mention two days later... then again, that's what CRM systems are for, but not everyone can afford one...

Quoting SA7700 (Reply 7):
The "Australian travel agency" gave me a cheaper fare, for the exact same flights, than on the airline's own website.

Not much of a surprise to me - though I'd really love to know who that "Australian travel agency" is...

While I have access to special deals for people in the travel industry, I've often found myself booking either regular published fares or some of the regular deals we get directly from the airlines for our customers: whenever I find something in Sabre or Amadeus, I'll always go to the airline's website to check what I'd pay there, and I'd book there if they were cheaper.

I've never ended up booking through an airline's website......... and, like I mentioned, that's without going into the industry fares........



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineBobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6347 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4697 times:

From reading these posts, it is evident you are dealing with consolidators and not true travel agencies as generally recognized in the business. consolidators are a small contingent of the travel market who operate in a semi shady manner. Don't confuse them with real "travel agents"

User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 12883 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4638 times:

Too many Travel Agents have become more into selling cruises and package holidays that they still make money on. Even then because of Expedia and other internet sources now available and often with better pricing (as my brother recently experienced), real TA's are getting a lot fewer and more limited in their services. If you want to go to Africa, you may have to find an agency that specializes in travel to the country or countries in Africa you want to travel to, perhaps in a major city like Toronto in your case.

User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 11, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4516 times:

Quoting Bobnwa (Reply 9):
consolidators are a small contingent of the travel market who operate in a semi shady manner.

Maybe in the US they are - they certainly aren't over here... while there's not a lot of them, there's certainly absolutely nothing shady (or semi shady) about them.



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlinePmk From United States of America, joined May 1999, 664 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4434 times:

Well as a travel agent in the US here's what I can tell you.

1. I'm sorry that you were treated that way by any agency, that's just not good service.

2. As an agency we must get at least one attempt at a fraudulent flight booking and 94% of the time they're flights to Africa. We as a company have instituted a policy that all clients requesting complicated itineraries must come in to our office, pay us a $50.00 research fee refundable if the ticket is booked by us. We will not book any ticket to Africa to any one but a well know client by credit card; a disputed charge, as stated above, can occur up to six monts after travel and then it's a scramble to show we knew the client. We will gladly accept certified funds for travel to Africa.

3. It does almost sound like you have talked to a few consolodators, but a good agent will look down that path for you and will only work with a good, reputable consolodator.

4. I hope you can find someone to give you a good quote in your area.

PMK


User currently offlineBigOrange From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 2362 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4395 times:

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
Have travel agencies evolved into a line of business I am not aware of

Not all travel agents act this way.

PM me your proposed itinerary and dates and I'll see if I can help you out.


User currently offlineRivet42 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 818 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4395 times:

Firstly, you don't say what exactly your itinerary is, so it's not possible to comment on the route in question, or who might or might not be able to sell it.

Secondly, what's wrong with going into a high-street travel agent, and making a face-to-face enquiry? Yes, they will be more expensive than a consolidator who only works over the phone, but you can see who they are, and what their fares are.

Thirdly, if you are simply trying to gauge the market, and have flown this route before, then presumably you know which airlines you've flown on before, so if you go to their websites you should be able to find a fare for the route you want to take?

I have to say that I sympathise with the post above about agents being naturally wary of 'unknown' customers trying to make bookings in markets that are prone to fraud, and I don't generally trust 'agents' who only work out of PO box addresses over the phone. Maybe you're just unlucky with the people you've been calling, but there are so many other options for getting a genuine quote for a genuine fare...

The cheapest deal is not always (in fact unlikely to be) the best deal!

Riv'



I travel, therefore I am.
User currently offlineVonRichtofen From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 4626 posts, RR: 37
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3789 times:

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
Finally, a well known chain which appears to only have agents with Australian accents



Quoting Leskova (Reply 8):
Not much of a surprise to me - though I'd really love to know who that "Australian travel agency" is...

Sounds like Flightcentre to me.

A t/a friend of mine here in Calgary told me that their agency does not sell tickets on airlines that do not pay them commissions anymore. Great customer service. Limit the choices to only those who pay commission.  Yeah sure No wonder people are booking online more and more and t/a's are going the way of the dinosaurs.



Kris



Word
User currently offlineAFGMEL From Australia, joined Jul 2007, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3565 times:

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
I am either noticing a pattern or I am not the ideal customer for a travel agent.

Amen to that. Same here. I don't fly long haul economy. Last time we were in Europe was (I think) three years ago. I went to three travel agencies here. I was hoping for some kind of flight/accommodation package. Bear in mind this is for two pax business class.

Well, I am yet to hear from them. I did ring back after a week or two and first hadn't even bothered, second said she was leaving and would leave it on the desk of boss, third maintained he had emailed me, but I am yet to see it. Eventually I rang flightcentre who quoted me the usual CX/QF/SQ. + - $8k each. I do a lot of research and pointed out to them that MK had a fare for about half that. I would have to overnight. No problem. She then quoted me $500 for one night (actually about 10 hours in transit) for the hotel cos that's what her system (sabre?) said. Err, no that's like $50 an hour, I went through a UK booking engine and got a hotel for about $200 close to the airport.

My point is that as far as I know these fares do pay commission. If it didn't cost me more I would happily use a travel agent but I can't find one. I don't care where you are. With the internet now I would have thought travel agents would concentrate on good service to get your business.

Going back to Europe July next year and want same. I have been looking online for specials, but can't find any yet. Even flightcentre hasn't got back to me.



B 727-44/200 732/3/4/8/9 767-3 742/3/4, 772/3, A319/20/21 332/333 342/3 , DC3/4/10, F28/50/100, ATR72
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 25
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3472 times:

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 4):
Large companies can easily pay for the skills of the TA and avoid the hassles of using their won employees.

While my employer has about 3-4 ladies from a well-known Travel Agency forming an "in-plant travel agency" which is taking care of flights / hotels / rental cars etc. for all employees in Germany, there is a tool in use since short time with which flights can be booked without the help of these ladies ...

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
Africa

In case your destination is some back-country airport in Africa, I'd either contact a specialist by phone or see a specialized high-street TA.

Nevertheless, calls you have placed should either be answered with an offer or turned down immediately.
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineBPS3458 From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 553 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3131 times:

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 6):
I find that they dont really try to look for fares on any other airline than the home grown/local ones (QF/NZ).

Couldn't agree more. Approached them for our trip to Europe and they came back with these outrageous QF fares. Asked them to look outside of the box and they offered TG and MH. Found cheaper fare on the MH website and got another A$ 50.00 per person off the cheaper MH fare as this seems to be part of their advertising campaign to give clients A$ 50.00 off any ticket if they find it cheaper elsewhere.

In any case, we are off on MH 140 on Thursday via KUL for three weeks with friends and family in Germany.

Cheers,

Peter


User currently offlineETStar From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2644 times:

Interesting responses ... will try and answer as much as possible

Quoting SA7700 (Reply 3):

Some people tend to fall into a comfort zone where they have absolutely no respect for their existing- or any prospective customers, thus no service. Second of all they live under the illusion that they are "doing so well" that they do not care for your business. However, in real life the soft, comfortable rug tend to be pulled out from under you, just when you get too comfortable and do nothing to maintain your business – this happens in all sectors.

Comfort zone indeed, but it is also a pick and choose attitude ... I recall the uproar in when airlines decided to cut, and some eliminated commissions or certain types of fares. Burning bridges is not going to help anyone.

Quoting Rdwootty (Reply 5):
Just another side of this ... The traveller wants a complicated stopover itinerary and calls the agent.. The fare is quoted and the booking made....the credit card is used for the payment....the customer fly's off.....the credit card is queried by the card company, this can be up to 6 months afteer the event ....the payment is then redebited and the agency loses out....Not saying this is you but why not go into the agency and do this face to face then I am sure you will not have the problem.

That is the risk of doing business. And if you do not accept payments over the phone/by credit card, then this should be made clear. If any of these told me so, I'd either make arrangements to have a face to face or go elsewhere.

Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 6):

I now go to a travel agency that is aimed at students, however offer fares to everyone. My TA there has found fares on 3 occasions for both myself and my mother that were cheaper than the airlines direct or a 3rd party website. And no, they're main colour is not Blue'. I wont be going back to them again!

Funny how when I was at uni, the student-run travel agency always had the most exorbitant prices.

Quoting Leskova (Reply 8):

Again, it obviously shouldn't be that way - but, since I do not know which company you're talking about: could it be that it's not just an office of a couple of people that only take 5-10 calls each day, but perhaps either a business with a high volume of calls or even a callcenter? Believe me - after talking with around 100 people a day, you won't much

Call centre or not, a call back is a call back, no? You'd think that a call centre would actually have strict processes/response times. All of the above are no call centres.

Quoting Bobnwa (Reply 9):
From reading these posts, it is evident you are dealing with consolidators and not true travel agencies as generally recognized in the business. consolidators are a small contingent of the travel market who operate in a semi shady manner. Don't confuse them with real "travel agents"

The list above includes a mix of both, in my opinion. Either way, both shady.

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 10):
Too many Travel Agents have become more into selling cruises and package holidays that they still make money on.

I hear that is quite lucrative. What happens if some event occurs and they cannot sell as much cruise tickets anymore? What do they turn to? Burn bridges?

Quoting Pmk (Reply 12):
2. As an agency we must get at least one attempt at a fraudulent flight booking and 94% of the time they're flights to Africa.

Sure. And if you institute rules such as pay by money order only, for example, then those like me would still go out of our way to accept your conditions. Do you simply shut everyone going to Africa out?

Quoting BigOrange (Reply 13):

Not all travel agents act this way.

PM me your proposed itinerary and dates and I'll see if I can help you out.

I did not generalize, but after going through those in my original post, frustration kicks in, and I am not in a position where I will hit every TA until I get to an acceptable agency.

Thanks for the PM offer. Another a.netter has offered the same service and have already taking them up on it.

Quoting Rivet42 (Reply 14):
Thirdly, if you are simply trying to gauge the market, and have flown this route before, then presumably you know which airlines you've flown on before, so if you go to their websites you should be able to find a fare for the route you want to take?

I have to say that I sympathise with the post above about agents being naturally wary of 'unknown' customers trying to make bookings in markets that are prone to fraud, and I don't generally trust 'agents' who only work out of PO box addresses over the phone. Maybe you're just unlucky with the people you've been calling, but there are so many other options for getting a genuine quote for a genuine fare...

That's the thing. If you are looking for tickets to Ethiopia, among many other countries, you will not find tickets on sites of all airlines that serve that country. And it is well known that lower fare tickets are available through travel agencies. The same goes for tickets to the far east and other parts of the world, where almost all airlines do not make their cheapest tickets available directly through them. For example, Ethiopian only sells tickets to cities it serves, while it makes many other fares available from other cities through travel agencies. Same with Air Canada, Turkish, Yemenia, EgyptAir, Emirates. Lufthansa and NW/KL have fares from YYC to ADD on their sites, but the rest, the majoritty, don't. Hence my quest to get a TA price.

As for the "unknown" customers, when and how does one establish "known" customers? Aren't TA's in the sales business, where they seek out new customers?

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 15):

A t/a friend of mine here in Calgary told me that their agency does not sell tickets on airlines that do not pay them commissions anymore. Great customer service. Limit the choices to only those who pay commission. Yeah sure No wonder people are booking online more and more and t/a's are going the way of the dinosaurs.

At the end of the day, those TAs are the ones that will lose out, since the whole industry is going into the zero commission direction. They are pretty much sabotaging their own business. Some TAs have instituted service charges which are acceptable to many, and can justify them by providing service will have the customer return regardless of the fees. Isn't that how we buy tickets from the airlines at the end of the day: if we are unhappy with an airline, we avoid it like the plague? I know I do.


User currently offlineLeskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 70
Reply 20, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2513 times:

Quoting ETStar (Reply 19):
Burning bridges is not going to help anyone.

Problem is that the airlines started burning bridges a couple of years back, then proceeded to act as if it had been the t/as that had burnt them...

Quoting ETStar (Reply 19):
The list above includes a mix of both, in my opinion. Either way, both shady.

And with that generalization, you've just pretty much hit a low-point...

Quoting ETStar (Reply 19):
I hear that is quite lucrative. What happens if some event occurs and they cannot sell as much cruise tickets anymore? What do they turn to? Burn bridges?

What event would prevent you from selling packages to just about anywhere in the world or any cruise on the face of this planet? Short of another world war, I'm having trouble visualizing that...

Quoting ETStar (Reply 19):
I did not generalize, but after going through those in my original post, frustration kicks in, and I am not in a position where I will hit every TA until I get to an acceptable agency.

... apart from the generalization in reply 19...

You know, I used to part-own an agency that was specialized in travel to Africa, and within about 6 months, I had pretty much a good sensor that allowed me to judge from the very first call if a client was serious or not: I was right in about 98% of the time, whenever I made a mark in my notes along the lines of "won't book in a million years", those clients practically always turned out to not being "all that interested after all", or surprised that the flight from Germany to South Africa takes more than 5 hours, or surprised that they don't all speak German down there, or surprised that they drive on the wrong side of the road, or...

It didn't stop me from preparing offers for each one of those callers, because they always could have been a part of those 2% where my impression was wrong, and because it was simply what I was there for: that was my job (ok, part of it at least).

Point is, if any bit of your "Either way, both shady" attitude leaked through your call, I'm pretty sure that some (perhaps all, depending on how much you can hide that attitude) will have picked up on it and then threw their notes in the waste bin, considering you a "he'll book online anyhow"-type of client.

Again, as I've stated (numerous times) before, I don't find this behavior acceptable, and anyone showing that type of behavior under my watch would probably have been in trouble (try firing someone because of that in Germany - close to impossible), but given all of the circumstances, and add into that the moronic belief that's spreading throughout some parts of society that t/as are all crooks, and the erroneous belief that you'll always find a better deal online, pretty much has exactly this behaviour as a consequence.

Quoting ETStar (Reply 19):
That's the thing. If you are looking for tickets to Ethiopia, among many other countries, you will not find tickets on sites of all airlines that serve that country.

... fraudulent bookings being one of the reasons for that...

Quoting ETStar (Reply 19):
As for the "unknown" customers, when and how does one establish "known" customers? Aren't TA's in the sales business, where they seek out new customers?

Of course T/As are in the sales business, and you do try to get new customers - but, as I mentioned above, you also develop a sense for the people coming into your shop or calling you: once that sense is well developed, you can pretty much weed out the requests that are promising and the ones that aren't. The right idea then would be prioritizing them according to success-chances, but just binning those that you think have no (or low) chances of turning into a sale is plain idiotic.

Quoting ETStar (Reply 19):
At the end of the day, those TAs are the ones that will lose out, since the whole industry is going into the zero commission direction. They are pretty much sabotaging their own business.

Absolutely true.

Quoting VonRichtofen (Reply 15):
A t/a friend of mine here in Calgary told me that their agency does not sell tickets on airlines that do not pay them commissions anymore. Great customer service. Limit the choices to only those who pay commission. No wonder people are booking online more and more and t/a's are going the way of the dinosaurs.

Not all t/as are going that way - and limiting sales to airlines who offer commission is just plain suicidal. A good t/a is still worth more than their weight in gold, and that will continue to be the case for years to come. It's just finding them that's the problem...



Smile - it confuses people!
User currently offlineTOLtommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3277 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2325 times:

Quoting ETStar (Reply 2):
As I stated, I simply wish to check what the traditional TAs have.



Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
For the second year in a row, I am being shunned by travel agencies from all four corners of North America,

Callling all over North America is part of your problem. You appear to be a shopper, not a buyer. Nowadays, a good Travel Agent is a salesperson, not an order taker. Go to a reputable local agent, they wil have contacts with consolidators that can get you where you need to go. But in all honesty, if you intend to use these people as a resource and then book it online yourself, then don't waste their time.


User currently offlineSh0rtybr0wn From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 528 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2240 times:

Maybe you can put up the dates and locations of your trip. Alot of people on Anet like to figure out these things and they might be able to help. This thread was read 3 thousand times. Maybe you'd get a better answer if you were more specific.

User currently onlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7322 posts, RR: 24
Reply 23, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2179 times:

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
Finally, a well known chain which appears to only have agents with Australian accents [the company may be based in Australia] and has stores in malls across the country has not lived up to "let's take your details and we'll call you back" claim for 5+ years. Walkins to their red-carpeted locations ain't that great either.



Quoting BNEFlyer (Reply 6):
I know exactly who you're talking about. I live in their home city and it seems that the agencies here are like 7-11 or McD's, they're everywhere - 14 stores in the CBD alone! I think I have received ok service once in one of their stores. I find that they dont really try to look for fares on any other airline than the home grown/local ones (QF/NZ).

HAHAHA, I actally work for the company you are thinking of. I worked for them in Los Angeles and now I work for them in Chicago. Yes indeed they are based in BNE and it is ridiculous how many stores are there. Ive gone down there several times.

There is a reason why QF is pushed so much. They are our prefered carrier. They give us heaps of money to push them and they give us commission. Given how many stores that we have, its really a case by case scenario. Weve had bad agents who give horrible service and weve had agents who work super hard for the clients. We have good stores and bad ones. Its not really a blanket case.

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 4):
The TA business has changed a lot over the years - and it hasn't been for the best.

Once the commissions from the airlines were dropped it became necessary for them to charge for their efforts and even then they had to hold their fees to a reasonable amount in order for the average customer to agree to pay. If you have a complicated flight schedule then things are a bit more difficult as it would call for more work on their part and, therefore higher fees for you.

Indeed this is true. Because the airlines dont pay us much comm anymore, we have to get creative on ways to make money. Typically this involves booking fees. Or pushing the airlines who do pay comm. I for one realize that the TA is a dying role in society and I am currently trying to find another career, but it hasnt been bad. Most of us do work hard.



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineSA7700 From South Africa, joined Dec 2003, 3432 posts, RR: 26
Reply 24, posted (6 years 6 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 2103 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

Quoting LAXdude1023 (Reply 23):
There is a reason why QF is pushed so much. They are our prefered carrier. They give us heaps of money to push them and they give us commission.

Mmm. They should try that in South Africa. SA got slapped with an USD dollarsign 8.6 million fine, by the Competition Commission, for doing that.  yes 


Rgds

SA7700



When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
25 Post contains images ETStar : Are you one of those TAs I called? No need to get so riled up. You obviously missed the point. Had I gotten a response from one TA, the need to call
26 Post contains images Leskova : Not getting riled up - just showing you where your rather obvious flaw is... I've left sales about three years ago, and while I'm still employed by a
27 DTWAGENT : For all the Travel Agents here in the USA, I'm sorry you are having such a hard time getting a ticket. I will say that some agencys have gone to a no
28 Access-Air : This is kind of what I was thinking he did.....I agree with you guys that the poster is either calling Consolidators or he is calling a Tour Company
29 CPDC10-30 : That Red-carpeted travel chain is useless. They don't live up to their claims about matching lowest fares. I was able to show them a fare of $549 YYZ
30 Blrsea : Why do airlines offer better rates through TAs than through their own website for travel to certain countries? I have noticed that for travel to India
31 Leskova : I guess that'll only change once the airlines can actually be sure bookings made with interline partners won't blow up in their face - as they, unfor
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