ETStar
Topic Author
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:51 pm

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?)
 
sh0rtybr0wn
Posts: 373
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:16 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:03 pm

Thats kind of rough, but can't you book it yourself online like the rest of us?
 
ETStar
Topic Author
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:19 pm

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.
 
SA7700
Posts: 2940
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:39 pm

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)
 
Ken777
Posts: 9024
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:39 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:52 pm

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.
 
rdwootty
Posts: 689
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 4:28 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:05 pm

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.
 
BNEFlyer
Posts: 181
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:41 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:44 pm

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!
 
SA7700
Posts: 2940
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:51 pm

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)
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:22 pm

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!
 
bobnwa
Posts: 4460
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2000 12:10 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:34 pm

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"
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12362
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:57 pm

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.
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:07 pm

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!
 
pmk
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed May 26, 1999 10:07 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:42 pm

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
 
BigOrange
Posts: 2291
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:20 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03 pm

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.
 
Rivet42
Posts: 603
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2005 11:26 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Mon Oct 01, 2007 11:03 pm

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.
 
VonRichtofen
Posts: 4260
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2000 3:10 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:04 am

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
 
AFGMEL
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:39 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:31 am

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
 
HT
Posts: 5857
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:20 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:42 am

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 !
 
bps3458
Posts: 524
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 12:25 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:30 pm

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
 
ETStar
Topic Author
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:04 pm

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.
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:29 pm

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!
 
toltommy
Posts: 2465
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:04 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:32 am

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.
 
sh0rtybr0wn
Posts: 373
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:16 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 1:50 am

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.
 
LAXdude1023
Posts: 4431
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 3:16 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:22 am

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.
It is what it is...
 
SA7700
Posts: 2940
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:04 am

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)
 
ETStar
Topic Author
Posts: 1850
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 6:25 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:02 pm

Quoting Leskova (Reply 20):
And with that generalization, you've just pretty much hit a low-point...

Are you one of those TAs I called? Big grin No need to get so riled up.

Quoting TOLtommy (Reply 21):

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.

You obviously missed the point. Had I gotten a response from one TA, the need to call different TAs would not have come up.
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:59 pm

Quoting ETStar (Reply 25):
Are you one of those TAs I called? No need to get so riled up.

Not getting riled up - just showing you where your rather obvious flaw is...  Wink

I've left sales about three years ago, and while I'm still employed by a company that owns and operates travel agencies, I don't have contact with customers any longer.
Smile - it confuses people!
 
DTWAGENT
Posts: 753
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:16 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:59 pm

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 ticket policy. Meaning if you don't include a car or hotel with your air they will not book it. That is TOTALY wrong and my felling is that they should not be in business if that is what they are doing. Yes, we don't receive commissions for the airlines anymore. However, my agency that I own, we do everything including just airline tickets. But you being shunned from local agencies in your area is wrong and I would report them to IATA which is located in YUL (Montreal). Or contact me and I will see what we can do for ya.

Chuck
 
access-air
Posts: 1576
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 5:30 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:13 pm

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"



Quoting Pmk (Reply 12):
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

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 directly that sells packages thru travel agents but bypassing the travel agents. Unfortunately too many of the once "Distributed thru Travel Agents ONLY" companies have changed their sales to direct sales and when the client gets disserviced then thats when, such as this case, the person thinks they are dealing with a travel agent. Then we have this kind of post.....Its unfortunate....Its a DIY world anymore...and all too often people think they can do it themselves and get it cheaper....Maybe in some cases they can...but its not long before they eventually hit a major snag and it will all blow up in their faces....Take it from an 18 year travel agent.
Also, thre seems to be a prevailing rash of people calling travel agencies to "fact find" and waste an agent's time and then turn around and book it themselves.. Just in order to save a few dollars.....Pitiful!!

Access-Air
Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
 
CPDC10-30
Posts: 4681
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2000 4:30 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:21 pm

Quoting ETStar (Thread starter):
Walkins to their red-carpeted locations ain't that great either.

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-LHR-YYZ from Travelocity. They said they would have to charge $79 to match the fare. Hmmmmm....any guesses as to where I gave my business?

I'm sorry, but for most travellers travel agencies just aren't necessary with almost all travel needs available online. At previous employers I avoided the corporate travel plan becase the airfares were far higher than I could book myself. Sure, it takes about 10 or 15 minutes of my time but my time isn't that valuable that I will pay $1000 more for an airfare to avoid the hassle of looking up the airfares myself.
 
blrsea
Posts: 1426
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 2:22 am

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:33 pm

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 from USA, apart from NW and BA, almost all airlines have exorbitant fares on their website whereas the TAs quote much lower prices for same tickets??

Many foreign carriers flying to US have inter-ariline agreement with other carriers. For e.g, MH & CX has it with Alaska, SQ with UA, AI with UA/AA etc. However, the websites of these airlines display fares only from the points they serve ( say LAX/JFK etc) and not from cities their partners in US serve. This is sometimes frustrating. EK and SQ show cities in US their partner airlines serve too. But not many others including MH, CX, AI, CI etc don't have this feature and this is available only through systems like sabre etc that TAs have access to. Wonder why this will change though??
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Shunned By Travel Agents, Again And Again

Thu Oct 04, 2007 8:15 am

Quoting Blrsea (Reply 30):
Many foreign carriers flying to US have inter-ariline agreement with other carriers. For e.g, MH & CX has it with Alaska, SQ with UA, AI with UA/AA etc. However, the websites of these airlines display fares only from the points they serve ( say LAX/JFK etc) and not from cities their partners in US serve. This is sometimes frustrating. EK and SQ show cities in US their partner airlines serve too. But not many others including MH, CX, AI, CI etc don't have this feature and this is available only through systems like sabre etc that TAs have access to. Wonder why this will change though??

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, unfortunately, still tend to do on occasion... the interline partner suddenly not accepting the airline's fares, their conditions, or not permitting as much baggage allowance as contractually agreed, or simply saying that they don't have a reservation for the passenger.

Those are just some of the rather regular things that we get calls about from our customers - it'll usually take us just a couple of minutes to sort out, but the airlines at the location where the client is at that time are usually somewhere between ignorant and downright unfriendly... often enough a case for embarrasment for the original carrier (though that rarely makes their employees at that given airport do much about it).
Smile - it confuses people!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: aflyingkiwi, alggag, Baidu [Spider], Dutchy, fly2lax, Gemuser, Google [Bot], Group51, iahcsr, NZdsgnr, RohanDXB, SOBHI51, Someone83, SXDFC, UAinAUS, xiaotung and 194 guests