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groupguy
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:15 am

airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:13 am

news today that Flight Centre(FC) are closing many offices & letting go of 6000 staff.

https://www.couriermail.com.au/business ... 4488a0c9c2

but this is only "the tip of the iceberg"

Some people think many travel consultants are simply order takers, but many are sales people, who often upsell, as the more they sell, the more they make. Not many travel consultants are employed on a fixed payment basis these days. Most are on a retainer + commission & the better ones on straight commission.

Probably a million or more travel consultants around the world, will be looking for work, any work, doing anything. Some will end up back selling travel in 6 months or so, but many of these might take the home office direction, to keep overheads exceedingly low, effectively paying no rent at all, so we might end up seeing a lot less travel agencies in shopping centres & high streets where they pay big rents.

Thing is, small work from home travel consultants, have very small marketing budgets, compared with what the FCs used to have.

Large travel agents like Flight Centre, surely demand & get bigger commissions from airlines, but do the airlines also contribute to their advertising ?

FC might be getting big commissions, heard as much as 20% of fares not including taxes, but they only get them, if they sell. No sales, no commission.

In Australia, bricks & mortar travel agencies were big until very recently. Something like 60% plus of all international airfares out of Australia, sold by these travel agents, not OTAs. as Australians travel a lot & many want to talk to a real person, if going overseas (maybe not for a 1 hour domestic flight)

Will OTAs expand or will airlines have to spend more, on old fashioned travel centres, not necessarily in high street locations.

With all the recession type advertising out there in the next few months, after Corona, will travel & airfares get lost. Will families stay closer to home & drive for holidays or will they spend less on holidays & instead eg. renovate the house ?
 
32andBelow
Posts: 4679
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:54 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:29 am

Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.
 
groupguy
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:15 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:41 am

32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.
Good riddance ?

Often the living travel agents have better package deals, which simply can't be done online.

Many people know they want a holiday, but don't know where they want to go. So they ask a travel agent for ideas within their budget.

You don't have to visit an agent, in fact, doubt if many agents who work from home see many people in their home, although have heard some go to clients.
 
Gemuser
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 5:46 am

32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.


I don't know where you live but around here many travel products cannot be brought online even today. Examples include various tours & services where the packager/wholesaler does not [and dosen't want to] deal directly with public.

Gemuser
 
chicawgo
Posts: 435
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:09 pm

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:07 am

groupguy wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.
Good riddance ?

Often the living travel agents have better package deals, which simply can't be done online.

Many people know they want a holiday, but don't know where they want to go. So they ask a travel agent for ideas within their budget.

You don't have to visit an agent, in fact, doubt if many agents who work from home see many people in their home, although have heard some go to clients.


In my experience the travel agent “packages” always end up being more than just booking it individually myself. Remember they work on commission. Often they direct to hotels or tours that pay them higher commission. It was too often a shady business and I’m glad the middleman has mostly been cut out.
 
Mboyle1988
Posts: 79
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:38 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:10 am

groupguy wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.
Good riddance ?

Often the living travel agents have better package deals, which simply can't be done online.

Many people know they want a holiday, but don't know where they want to go. So they ask a travel agent for ideas within their budget.

You don't have to visit an agent, in fact, doubt if many agents who work from home see many people in their home, although have heard some go to clients.


Is this a European thing? In the US, I don't think I've seen a physical travel agency since I was a little child. I didn't even know they still existed. I've never heard of anyone booking a trip through a travel agency. I knew people booked cruises through agents, but not flights or hotels.
 
rfields5421
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:25 am

Mboyle1988 wrote:
I didn't even know they still existed. I've never heard of anyone booking a trip through a travel agency. I knew people booked cruises through agents, but not flights or hotels.


Ever hear of Travelocity, or Expedia and dozens of other web sites like Bookings.com ? Many airline websites offer the same services. If you ever see a link to book a hotel or car in addition to your flight - that is going through some type of travel agency type operation. The business has gone virtual, though some physical offices still exist, at least in the Dallas area.

Now, I'm a cheap SOB, and I never booked anything through Travelocity, except a flight in most cases. Only after checking the individual airline web site. Did book a cruise once, and got a GREAT fare on AA from Dallas to Seattle as a package offered by Travelocity. And the cruise price was cheaper than the cruise line offered on their web site.

That's what travel agents do, putting the whole thing together into a package. Sure if you want to do it yourself as an amateur, you can. And you might get a lower price total price.

And some people like to spend hours doing that level of research. And some absolutely hate it, or spend their time in what they consider more productive things..
Not all who wander are lost.
 
Philippine747
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:27 am

32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.


Here in the Philippines, there still is a use for them. Travel agencies here not only sell package tours, flights, etc. but they also help process visa applications (US, Schengen area, Japan, ROK, Australia are the most common). One of the agencies here (RAKSO IIRC) sells package tours to Jeju and Yangyang (visa-free for Filipinos) and they were the only way you can get on the PR seasonal flights to those places.
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lx2iah
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:36 am

Good Riddance?!?!? Hold.Your.Horses. This may not be horrible news to you, but for me and hundreds of thousands of Professional Travel Agents around the world, this news is devastating to OUR industry. WE are the ones who go to bat for you when your flight is delayed or canceled. WE are the ones that get your no-show bill waived at a hotel because YOU forgot to cancel YOUR reservation. WE are the ones who come in early and work late to plan YOUR perfect trip. WE are the ones who listen to YOUR whining about not getting YOUR special meal or preferred seat. WE are the ones who contact the airline when YOU no-show a flight and get YOU re-booked as fast as humanly possible. WE are the ones who help YOU get home when a natural disaster strikes on the other side of the world. WE are the ones who search for the best airfares for YOUR trip. WE are the ones WHO CARE. Times.Just.Like.These. Did YOU have a trip planned within the next month? How long did it take YOU to contact YOUR airline to get through to them - if you ever did? WE are the ones who were working frantically trying to cancel and re-book YOUR travel plans. I have worked as a professional travel agent since 1984 and heard and seen it all. WE are the ones who go to bat for YOU when YOU can't get the airline to assist YOU. We are ALL feeling the pain from this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Think about EVERY PERSON who works in THIS INDUSTRY who have been laid off, furloughed, or are scared that the next call or email from their boss will be stating they have to let us go. It's terrifying. Think about the airlines - check-in agents, TSA screeners, gate agents, ramp staff, baggage handlers, caterers, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners, pilots, flight attendants...Hotel front desk and reservations staff, housekeepers, bartenders, hotel restaurant staff, hotel maintenance staff...Uber, Lyft, Taxi and Limo drivers...Food service companies who deliver food to your hotel or favorite restaurant...This is a HORRIBLE situation ALL OF US are in right now. WE are the ones that will bend over backwards to get YOUR wait-list cleared so YOU can get home to attend YOUR child's function. WE are the ones there when YOU need to get a hotel while you're traveling down I-95 in the middle of the night. WE are the ones who make sure that the airline has YOUR correct name on the reservation because Jimmy forgot to tell us his legal name is James. We are the ones who negotiate better airfares for YOUR corporation so we can save them money. A decent person would never say anyone's job is meaningless. Everyone has the right to do what they're good at and make enough to support their family. Finally, WE are the ones who will put people like YOU in a middle seat that doesn't recline on the last row of the plane because YOU ticked us off!.
Last edited by lx2iah on Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
Blerg
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:38 am

I was in Vienna recently and over there they have travel agencies almost on every corner. Personally I find it fun to book a holiday through an agency, you get to chat and discuss your options with someone especially since most of them actually went there to visit the locations and hotels.
 
slcdeltarumd11
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Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:30 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:46 am

Lots of older people and infrequent travellers use them. NYC may still exist. People who often dont really have a place in mind want someone to handle the details.

They handle the planning part not just the booking part.
 
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RyanairGuru
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:02 am

FCTG is much larger than the "red and white" bricks and mortar shops, with fingers in CTM, OTA, wholesale and tour operators. It is one of the largest travel companies in the world, with operations on every continent.

Regardless of what one thinks about physical travel agents, FCTG is a very large part of the global travel industry, and has an outsize role in markets such as Australia. The majority of travel arrangements are still sold through an intermediary and not directly.
Last edited by RyanairGuru on Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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groupguy
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:15 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:03 am

chicawgo wrote:
groupguy wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.
Good riddance ?

Often the living travel agents have better package deals, which simply can't be done online.

Many people know they want a holiday, but don't know where they want to go. So they ask a travel agent for ideas within their budget.

You don't have to visit an agent, in fact, doubt if many agents who work from home see many people in their home, although have heard some go to clients.


In my experience the travel agent “packages” always end up being more than just booking it individually myself. Remember they work on commission. Often they direct to hotels or tours that pay them higher commission. It was too often a shady business and I’m glad the middleman has mostly been cut out.
nothing shady about package holidays & not where near gone, just better prices but limited choice. Not really a middleman, as that implies, here's an item, buy it either direct from the producer or the same item via someone. Agents can often come up with better options.

As far as groups go, I won't survive if clients could get cheaper & better service from airlines. Airlines provide neither.

We did a group of 200 medico-legal types, the other day for next year (not scared off by carona at all)

We broke the group up into smaller bits & we saved them a fortune & made some money ourselves. They are not even travelling the same day, but meeting up at other end for a conference. We also did better deals on hotels, but they asked for 4 smallish hotels, of which we could do 1 & 2 they didn't ask for. The latter they didn't even know about, but were in better locations, than 2 they asked for.
 
dampfnudel
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:43 am

A couple of years ago I took my mom to Hawaii, 3 islands in 15 days. She wanted to see Hawaii since she was a teenager (she was 80 at the time of the trip). My phone did everything that a Liberty Travel agent did when my parents and I flew to Florida in 1986 and Las Vegas in 1998, the last time we used a travel agency. Flights with Hawaiian, transfers, hotels, a bunch of tours, Old Lahaina Luau on Maui, advice on where to go and what to see, special places like Lanikai Beach, Jack Harter helicopter on Kauai, etc. all on my phone.
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seb76
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:06 am

My Japanese employer in Europe forces us to book all business trips trough one (also Japanese) travel agency in Europe.
At first I thought this so old-school and terribly expensive. I used to think agencies were only "for old people who can't use the internet" or for rich people booking very exclusive trips. My former employer would let us book by ourselves directly and most of us played the game, trying to book at good prices.

After a few years of using this agency of my current employer, I have to admit that they proved me I was completely wrong. They are so damn efficient. I am not spending my time making arrangements anymore. They know and store everything they need from our business travel policy, to our individual seating or airlines preferences, some personal data, our food allergies and whenever we change plans or get into trouble, they can rearrange all our trip schedule in a matter of a few hours, all we have to do is a phone call and they offer us a workable solution in minutes.
I am now even considering to use their services for family holidays in Asia. ...
 
bennett123
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:14 am

IMO, there’s a three way split.

Online for the bulk of travel, provided by Expedia etc.

This will be backed up by Call Centres. For example, Mercury who do a range of destinations. However, initially they just did Malta and that country still makes up about 20% of their range. Incidentally, they combine Call Centre and online.

Thirdly, there are the High Street operations, either in their own premises or shop in shop.

These will retain a more niche role. Large groups, more exotic locations etc. Flight Centre would fit in this category.

I do not see them having a long term role in ‘Bucket and Spade’ holidays.
 
WidebodyPTV
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:20 am

32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.


Uh, no. There are plenty of people who still prefer the services of travel agents, including many families planning leisure vacations. Many businesses also use the service of travel agents to secure the best pricing -- especially if large groups are traveling, and group rates may be more appropriate, make all of the arrangements, and have the know how should things change.
 
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eta unknown
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:33 am

groupguy wrote:
Large travel agents like Flight Centre, surely demand & get bigger commissions from airlines, but do the airlines also contribute to their advertising ?
FC might be getting big commissions, heard as much as 20% of fares not including taxes, but they only get them, if they sell. No sales, no commission.


FC demands them, but they shoot themselves in the foot and mostly haven't been getting them for the last few years- this has been stated in their annual reports. The 20% (a bit on the high side) is called an "override commission" and is only paid by the airlines if certain revenues are produced. Trouble is, FC is only good at selling the lowest fare buckets and with airfares becoming cheaper every year they need to sell even more tickets to achieve the target- FC has 2 or 3 airline partnership managers who meet with their assigned airlines every month and monitor productivity. Once I was blind copied in on an email responding to a FC complaint where they whined because our fares were too high, they were unable to reach target so this situation is OUR fault and we should pay them their $2M override as a goodwill gesture. My response was you should congratulate me- because of my high fares you pushed business to competitor X and achieved your target that way- you're in bed with everyone and pretend not to be.

Advertising: in the contract there is a marketing fund and disputes sometimes arise as to how to allocate these funds. They also get X number of free tickets per annum to use as they wish. I decided to blow my allocated part on the annual Feb expo because I found their adhoc sale campaigns were ineffective, but some of my competitor counterparts had other opinions.

The title of this thread is airlines lose huge marketing "arm". To be honest, airlines no longer need this arm- when I look at FC productivity reports, roughly 50% is from bricks and mortar- the other 50% from their websites which is just like helloworld.com or webjet.com, etc.
 
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Coal
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:52 am

For personal trips I do everything myself. As someone mentioned, flights, cars, trains, hotels, and Airbnbs can all be booked from your phone. There are even many apps (incl. Airbnb) that offer experiences. So there really is no need to go to an old fashioned travel agent, if you have a smartphone and an internet connection.

For work, we do use one of the largest, global business travel agents. But it is different since we have contracts with airlines and major hotel chains, and corporate rates. Also, in those cases, since in my line of business travel plans and schedules can change quickly and frequently, it is useful to have a person you can call or email 24/7/365 and in 30-60 secs tell them to cancel/rebook flights and hotels.
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MIflyer12
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:18 pm

The word is disintermediation. There have have lots of studies going back more than 20 years looking back at how the internet has lowered search costs and improved consumer pricing. Job loss shouldn't be celebrated but the 'travel agent' business model is just decades out of date - like standing in line for hours to get your driver's license renewed.

Here's one paper: https://www.nber.org/papers/w14166
 
Gangurru
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:11 pm

32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.


Our industry, like the world we live in, is interconnected. Agents are an important part of this business. They sell far more than airline tickets. They may offer services or products that can’t always be sold online.

As an airline worker, it pains me to read of mass layoffs in any industry at this time. There’s little “good” about it in these circumstances.

There are vulnerable people out there. Let’s be mindful of the language we use and tone we take when discussing them.
Last edited by Gangurru on Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
RDUDDJI
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:59 pm

There's going to be lots of industries decimated by the pandemic fallout. Travel/Hospitality will get it especially bad, but I think a lot of it will come back eventually.

I (normally) travel almost every week. I think I've only (knowingly) used an third party booking site only a half dozen or so times in the last few years. Nothing against agencies, but since I have so many air/hotel/CC points, it makes more sense for me to book/redeem directly through those companies.

As a few have mentioned, you don't actually have to physically go to an agency. Most of it is through the web.

If you do it right, sometimes you can get a really good deal from an agency. A few years ago, we spent a week in the RD (Republica Dominica) at a great all inclusive resort for US$1400pp which also included airfare. When I tried to price it all myself it was almost double what the agency had. I booked part of it through the web, but then worked with an agent over the phone when we needed to add some people (who were attracted by the price).
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groupguy
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:04 am

Coal wrote:
For personal trips I do everything myself. As someone mentioned, flights, cars, trains, hotels, and Airbnbs can all be booked from your phone. There are even many apps (incl. Airbnb) that offer experiences. So there really is no need to go to an old fashioned travel agent, if you have a smartphone and an internet connection.

For work, we do use one of the largest, global business travel agents. But it is different since we have contracts with airlines and major hotel chains, and corporate rates. Also, in those cases, since in my line of business travel plans and schedules can change quickly and frequently, it is useful to have a person you can call or email 24/7/365 and in 30-60 secs tell them to cancel/rebook flights and hotels.
sounds like you don't care what you pay, but many people do. The really strange thing is why do people think they will find the best fares online. They obviously believe the advertising spin.

Online is convenient for comparisons, but usually way too expensive.

Think of it this way, whatever is online, is what's leftover after tour operators take all the best fares.

Our groups often compare online, but can't even get close online, to what we offer them.

That said, we don't deal with every airline.
 
Virtual737
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:27 am

lx2iah wrote:
Good Riddance?!?!? Hold.Your.Horses. This may not be horrible news to you, but for me and hundreds of thousands of Professional Travel Agents around the world, this news is devastating to OUR industry. WE are the ones who go to bat for you when your flight is delayed or canceled. WE are the ones that get your no-show bill waived at a hotel because YOU forgot to cancel YOUR reservation. WE are the ones who come in early and work late to plan YOUR perfect trip. WE are the ones who listen to YOUR whining about not getting YOUR special meal or preferred seat. WE are the ones who contact the airline when YOU no-show a flight and get YOU re-booked as fast as humanly possible. WE are the ones who help YOU get home when a natural disaster strikes on the other side of the world. WE are the ones who search for the best airfares for YOUR trip. WE are the ones WHO CARE. Times.Just.Like.These. Did YOU have a trip planned within the next month? How long did it take YOU to contact YOUR airline to get through to them - if you ever did? WE are the ones who were working frantically trying to cancel and re-book YOUR travel plans. I have worked as a professional travel agent since 1984 and heard and seen it all. WE are the ones who go to bat for YOU when YOU can't get the airline to assist YOU. We are ALL feeling the pain from this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Think about EVERY PERSON who works in THIS INDUSTRY who have been laid off, furloughed, or are scared that the next call or email from their boss will be stating they have to let us go. It's terrifying. Think about the airlines - check-in agents, TSA screeners, gate agents, ramp staff, baggage handlers, caterers, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners, pilots, flight attendants...Hotel front desk and reservations staff, housekeepers, bartenders, hotel restaurant staff, hotel maintenance staff...Uber, Lyft, Taxi and Limo drivers...Food service companies who deliver food to your hotel or favorite restaurant...This is a HORRIBLE situation ALL OF US are in right now. WE are the ones that will bend over backwards to get YOUR wait-list cleared so YOU can get home to attend YOUR child's function. WE are the ones there when YOU need to get a hotel while you're traveling down I-95 in the middle of the night. WE are the ones who make sure that the airline has YOUR correct name on the reservation because Jimmy forgot to tell us his legal name is James. We are the ones who negotiate better airfares for YOUR corporation so we can save them money. A decent person would never say anyone's job is meaningless. Everyone has the right to do what they're good at and make enough to support their family. Finally, WE are the ones who will put people like YOU in a middle seat that doesn't recline on the last row of the plane because YOU ticked us off!.


With a couple of noun changes, that was almost word for word the same as my ex-wife's petition in our divorce.
 
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Coal
Posts: 2584
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:18 pm

groupguy wrote:
Coal wrote:
For personal trips I do everything myself. As someone mentioned, flights, cars, trains, hotels, and Airbnbs can all be booked from your phone. There are even many apps (incl. Airbnb) that offer experiences. So there really is no need to go to an old fashioned travel agent, if you have a smartphone and an internet connection.

For work, we do use one of the largest, global business travel agents. But it is different since we have contracts with airlines and major hotel chains, and corporate rates. Also, in those cases, since in my line of business travel plans and schedules can change quickly and frequently, it is useful to have a person you can call or email 24/7/365 and in 30-60 secs tell them to cancel/rebook flights and hotels.
sounds like you don't care what you pay, but many people do. The really strange thing is why do people think they will find the best fares online. They obviously believe the advertising spin.

Online is convenient for comparisons, but usually way too expensive.

Think of it this way, whatever is online, is what's leftover after tour operators take all the best fares.

Our groups often compare online, but can't even get close online, to what we offer them.

That said, we don't deal with every airline.

Yes and maybe that is the difference. I will look for value for money. To me that doesn't mean the cheapest, but would mean e.g. flying Star Alliance (preferably SQ), 100% mileage earn, ability to select seats, etc., and ability to make changes on mobile/online (a lot of times when you book through a travel agent you can't). So indeed, I do not optimize for cost but for certain conveniences. I also don't want to fly something like Sun Country to stay in a Sandals in Montego Bay, so maybe that's why I am missing the point.
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Coal
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:20 pm

groupguy wrote:
Coal wrote:
For personal trips I do everything myself. As someone mentioned, flights, cars, trains, hotels, and Airbnbs can all be booked from your phone. There are even many apps (incl. Airbnb) that offer experiences. So there really is no need to go to an old fashioned travel agent, if you have a smartphone and an internet connection.

For work, we do use one of the largest, global business travel agents. But it is different since we have contracts with airlines and major hotel chains, and corporate rates. Also, in those cases, since in my line of business travel plans and schedules can change quickly and frequently, it is useful to have a person you can call or email 24/7/365 and in 30-60 secs tell them to cancel/rebook flights and hotels.
sounds like you don't care what you pay, but many people do. The really strange thing is why do people think they will find the best fares online. They obviously believe the advertising spin.

Online is convenient for comparisons, but usually way too expensive.

Think of it this way, whatever is online, is what's leftover after tour operators take all the best fares.

Our groups often compare online, but can't even get close online, to what we offer them.

That said, we don't deal with every airline.

Having said that I also keep an eye out for premium class sales, not sure a travel agent can get that. Last year I flew SIN-ICN-ATL on KE in J for US$1,800. It was cheaper than most economy fares on ME3, European, or other Asian carriers in Y.
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groupguy
Topic Author
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Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:03 am

Coal wrote:
groupguy wrote:
Coal wrote:
For personal trips I do everything myself. As someone mentioned, flights, cars, trains, hotels, and Airbnbs can all be booked from your phone. There are even many apps (incl. Airbnb) that offer experiences. So there really is no need to go to an old fashioned travel agent, if you have a smartphone and an internet connection.

For work, we do use one of the largest, global business travel agents. But it is different since we have contracts with airlines and major hotel chains, and corporate rates. Also, in those cases, since in my line of business travel plans and schedules can change quickly and frequently, it is useful to have a person you can call or email 24/7/365 and in 30-60 secs tell them to cancel/rebook flights and hotels.
sounds like you don't care what you pay, but many people do. The really strange thing is why do people think they will find the best fares online. They obviously believe the advertising spin.

Online is convenient for comparisons, but usually way too expensive.

Think of it this way, whatever is online, is what's leftover after tour operators take all the best fares.

Our groups often compare online, but can't even get close online, to what we offer them.

That said, we don't deal with every airline.

Having said that I also keep an eye out for premium class sales, not sure a travel agent can get that. Last year I flew SIN-ICN-ATL on KE in J for US$1,800. It was cheaper than most economy fares on ME3, European, or other Asian carriers in Y.
agents have access to far more fares than ever online. They get fares from various consolidators. They also have return fares that involve more than one airline, that can't be purchased from either airline alone.
 
groupguy
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:15 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:08 am

Coal wrote:
groupguy wrote:
Coal wrote:
For personal trips I do everything myself. As someone mentioned, flights, cars, trains, hotels, and Airbnbs can all be booked from your phone. There are even many apps (incl. Airbnb) that offer experiences. So there really is no need to go to an old fashioned travel agent, if you have a smartphone and an internet connection.

For work, we do use one of the largest, global business travel agents. But it is different since we have contracts with airlines and major hotel chains, and corporate rates. Also, in those cases, since in my line of business travel plans and schedules can change quickly and frequently, it is useful to have a person you can call or email 24/7/365 and in 30-60 secs tell them to cancel/rebook flights and hotels.
sounds like you don't care what you pay, but many people do. The really strange thing is why do people think they will find the best fares online. They obviously believe the advertising spin.

Online is convenient for comparisons, but usually way too expensive.

Think of it this way, whatever is online, is what's leftover after tour operators take all the best fares.

Our groups often compare online, but can't even get close online, to what we offer them.

That said, we don't deal with every airline.

Yes and maybe that is the difference. I will look for value for money. To me that doesn't mean the cheapest, but would mean e.g. flying Star Alliance (preferably SQ), 100% mileage earn, ability to select seats, etc., and ability to make changes on mobile/online (a lot of times when you book through a travel agent you can't). So indeed, I do not optimize for cost but for certain conveniences. I also don't want to fly something like Sun Country to stay in a Sandals in Montego Bay, so maybe that's why I am missing the point.
a simple email to an agent, telling them to choose a seat, or too make changes is far quicker. Maybe you don't value your time.
 
jetblueguy22
Posts: 3431
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:26 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:54 am

lx2iah wrote:
Good Riddance?!?!? Hold.Your.Horses. This may not be horrible news to you, but for me and hundreds of thousands of Professional Travel Agents around the world, this news is devastating to OUR industry. WE are the ones who go to bat for you when your flight is delayed or canceled. WE are the ones that get your no-show bill waived at a hotel because YOU forgot to cancel YOUR reservation. WE are the ones who come in early and work late to plan YOUR perfect trip. WE are the ones who listen to YOUR whining about not getting YOUR special meal or preferred seat. WE are the ones who contact the airline when YOU no-show a flight and get YOU re-booked as fast as humanly possible. WE are the ones who help YOU get home when a natural disaster strikes on the other side of the world. WE are the ones who search for the best airfares for YOUR trip. WE are the ones WHO CARE. Times.Just.Like.These. Did YOU have a trip planned within the next month? How long did it take YOU to contact YOUR airline to get through to them - if you ever did? WE are the ones who were working frantically trying to cancel and re-book YOUR travel plans. I have worked as a professional travel agent since 1984 and heard and seen it all. WE are the ones who go to bat for YOU when YOU can't get the airline to assist YOU. We are ALL feeling the pain from this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Think about EVERY PERSON who works in THIS INDUSTRY who have been laid off, furloughed, or are scared that the next call or email from their boss will be stating they have to let us go. It's terrifying. Think about the airlines - check-in agents, TSA screeners, gate agents, ramp staff, baggage handlers, caterers, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners, pilots, flight attendants...Hotel front desk and reservations staff, housekeepers, bartenders, hotel restaurant staff, hotel maintenance staff...Uber, Lyft, Taxi and Limo drivers...Food service companies who deliver food to your hotel or favorite restaurant...This is a HORRIBLE situation ALL OF US are in right now. WE are the ones that will bend over backwards to get YOUR wait-list cleared so YOU can get home to attend YOUR child's function. WE are the ones there when YOU need to get a hotel while you're traveling down I-95 in the middle of the night. WE are the ones who make sure that the airline has YOUR correct name on the reservation because Jimmy forgot to tell us his legal name is James. We are the ones who negotiate better airfares for YOUR corporation so we can save them money. A decent person would never say anyone's job is meaningless. Everyone has the right to do what they're good at and make enough to support their family. Finally, WE are the ones who will put people like YOU in a middle seat that doesn't recline on the last row of the plane because YOU ticked us off!.

Man you wield so much power and authority, it's awe inspiring.
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
 
jetblueguy22
Posts: 3431
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:26 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:10 am

groupguy wrote:
Coal wrote:
groupguy wrote:
sounds like you don't care what you pay, but many people do. The really strange thing is why do people think they will find the best fares online. They obviously believe the advertising spin.

Online is convenient for comparisons, but usually way too expensive.

Think of it this way, whatever is online, is what's leftover after tour operators take all the best fares.

Our groups often compare online, but can't even get close online, to what we offer them.

That said, we don't deal with every airline.

Yes and maybe that is the difference. I will look for value for money. To me that doesn't mean the cheapest, but would mean e.g. flying Star Alliance (preferably SQ), 100% mileage earn, ability to select seats, etc., and ability to make changes on mobile/online (a lot of times when you book through a travel agent you can't). So indeed, I do not optimize for cost but for certain conveniences. I also don't want to fly something like Sun Country to stay in a Sandals in Montego Bay, so maybe that's why I am missing the point.
a simple email to an agent, telling them to choose a seat, or too make changes is far quicker. Maybe you don't value your time.

You make it sound like rocket science. If I want to pick a seat on a booking I made I open the app on my phone. If I want to change my flight, I yet again, open the app on my phone. And you know what, I can do it with less taps than the e-mail I would write to you asking you to do the same thing. It's 2020, these things are easier than they've ever been.

If anything using an agent complicates things. My company uses a travel portal through our travel agency and because of it when I get stuck somewhere I have to call and wait. Last time this happened I waited 2 hours and missed the last flight of the day. Yet when I've had trouble during personal travel it's 30 seconds on the app and I'm booked on the next flight.
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
 
kcpoole
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:31 pm

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:18 am

jetblueguy22 wrote:
lx2iah wrote:
Good Riddance?!?!? Hold.Your.Horses. This may not be horrible news to you, but for me and hundreds of thousands of Professional Travel Agents around the world, this news is devastating to OUR industry. WE are the ones who go to bat for you when your flight is delayed or canceled. WE are the ones that get your no-show bill waived at a hotel because YOU forgot to cancel YOUR reservation. WE are the ones who come in early and work late to plan YOUR perfect trip. WE are the ones who listen to YOUR whining about not getting YOUR special meal or preferred seat. WE are the ones who contact the airline when YOU no-show a flight and get YOU re-booked as fast as humanly possible. WE are the ones who help YOU get home when a natural disaster strikes on the other side of the world. WE are the ones who search for the best airfares for YOUR trip. WE are the ones WHO CARE. Times.Just.Like.These. Did YOU have a trip planned within the next month? How long did it take YOU to contact YOUR airline to get through to them - if you ever did? WE are the ones who were working frantically trying to cancel and re-book YOUR travel plans. I have worked as a professional travel agent since 1984 and heard and seen it all. WE are the ones who go to bat for YOU when YOU can't get the airline to assist YOU. We are ALL feeling the pain from this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Think about EVERY PERSON who works in THIS INDUSTRY who have been laid off, furloughed, or are scared that the next call or email from their boss will be stating they have to let us go. It's terrifying. Think about the airlines - check-in agents, TSA screeners, gate agents, ramp staff, baggage handlers, caterers, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners, pilots, flight attendants...Hotel front desk and reservations staff, housekeepers, bartenders, hotel restaurant staff, hotel maintenance staff...Uber, Lyft, Taxi and Limo drivers...Food service companies who deliver food to your hotel or favorite restaurant...This is a HORRIBLE situation ALL OF US are in right now. WE are the ones that will bend over backwards to get YOUR wait-list cleared so YOU can get home to attend YOUR child's function. WE are the ones there when YOU need to get a hotel while you're traveling down I-95 in the middle of the night. WE are the ones who make sure that the airline has YOUR correct name on the reservation because Jimmy forgot to tell us his legal name is James. We are the ones who negotiate better airfares for YOUR corporation so we can save them money. A decent person would never say anyone's job is meaningless. Everyone has the right to do what they're good at and make enough to support their family. Finally, WE are the ones who will put people like YOU in a middle seat that doesn't recline on the last row of the plane because YOU ticked us off!.

Man you wield so much power and authority, it's awe inspiring.

yep they do
As one who just last week came back early from France on a flight organised by my travel agent I am very thankfull of their efforts to get me home. Going far above the normal to do so as well.

My trip was organised by a travel agent as I could not do so by myself online. 2 travellers, 2 flight legs each to get over there and as we wanted to come home separately with different travelling partners there is no way i could do that online myself.
My travel agent was able to organise all flights with our very much out of the ordinary travel requirements with no problem. Thanks to Ros @ Flight Center. Stanhope.
I hope they all come out the other side of this OK as many will not

Ken
 
User avatar
Coal
Posts: 2584
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:14 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:54 am

groupguy wrote:
Coal wrote:
groupguy wrote:
sounds like you don't care what you pay, but many people do. The really strange thing is why do people think they will find the best fares online. They obviously believe the advertising spin.

Online is convenient for comparisons, but usually way too expensive.

Think of it this way, whatever is online, is what's leftover after tour operators take all the best fares.

Our groups often compare online, but can't even get close online, to what we offer them.

That said, we don't deal with every airline.

Yes and maybe that is the difference. I will look for value for money. To me that doesn't mean the cheapest, but would mean e.g. flying Star Alliance (preferably SQ), 100% mileage earn, ability to select seats, etc., and ability to make changes on mobile/online (a lot of times when you book through a travel agent you can't). So indeed, I do not optimize for cost but for certain conveniences. I also don't want to fly something like Sun Country to stay in a Sandals in Montego Bay, so maybe that's why I am missing the point.
a simple email to an agent, telling them to choose a seat, or too make changes is far quicker. Maybe you don't value your time.

Lol, an email? 2000 called. They want their technology back.
Nxt Flts: SQ SIN-KIX | HD UKB-CTS | NH CTS-NRT | SQ NRT-SIN | AK SIN-DPS-SIN
 
User avatar
Coal
Posts: 2584
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:14 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:57 am

Nonetheless let it be clear: It is a terrible situation, as lx2iah mentioned, many, many people in the airline, hotel, restaurant, travel agent, etc., industry are facing and let's hope they all land on their feet when this is over.
Nxt Flts: SQ SIN-KIX | HD UKB-CTS | NH CTS-NRT | SQ NRT-SIN | AK SIN-DPS-SIN
 
grbauc
Posts: 1469
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:05 pm

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:23 am

groupguy wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.
Good riddance ?

Often the living travel agents have better package deals, which simply can't be done online.

Many people know they want a holiday, but don't know where they want to go. So they ask a travel agent for ideas within their budget.

You don't have to visit an agent, in fact, doubt if many agents who work from home see many people in their home, although have heard some go to clients.



They can have some good deals and many people like to look at things through a straw and or from there view point. There is a place imop for travel agents in future.
 
User avatar
kjeld0d
Posts: 505
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:21 pm

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:55 am

jetblueguy22 wrote:
lx2iah wrote:
Good Riddance?!?!? Hold.Your.Horses. This may not be horrible news to you, but for me and hundreds of thousands of Professional Travel Agents around the world, this news is devastating to OUR industry. WE are the ones who go to bat for you when your flight is delayed or canceled. WE are the ones that get your no-show bill waived at a hotel because YOU forgot to cancel YOUR reservation. WE are the ones who come in early and work late to plan YOUR perfect trip. WE are the ones who listen to YOUR whining about not getting YOUR special meal or preferred seat. WE are the ones who contact the airline when YOU no-show a flight and get YOU re-booked as fast as humanly possible. WE are the ones who help YOU get home when a natural disaster strikes on the other side of the world. WE are the ones who search for the best airfares for YOUR trip. WE are the ones WHO CARE. Times.Just.Like.These. Did YOU have a trip planned within the next month? How long did it take YOU to contact YOUR airline to get through to them - if you ever did? WE are the ones who were working frantically trying to cancel and re-book YOUR travel plans. I have worked as a professional travel agent since 1984 and heard and seen it all. WE are the ones who go to bat for YOU when YOU can't get the airline to assist YOU. We are ALL feeling the pain from this worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Think about EVERY PERSON who works in THIS INDUSTRY who have been laid off, furloughed, or are scared that the next call or email from their boss will be stating they have to let us go. It's terrifying. Think about the airlines - check-in agents, TSA screeners, gate agents, ramp staff, baggage handlers, caterers, aircraft fuelers, aircraft cleaners, pilots, flight attendants...Hotel front desk and reservations staff, housekeepers, bartenders, hotel restaurant staff, hotel maintenance staff...Uber, Lyft, Taxi and Limo drivers...Food service companies who deliver food to your hotel or favorite restaurant...This is a HORRIBLE situation ALL OF US are in right now. WE are the ones that will bend over backwards to get YOUR wait-list cleared so YOU can get home to attend YOUR child's function. WE are the ones there when YOU need to get a hotel while you're traveling down I-95 in the middle of the night. WE are the ones who make sure that the airline has YOUR correct name on the reservation because Jimmy forgot to tell us his legal name is James. We are the ones who negotiate better airfares for YOUR corporation so we can save them money. A decent person would never say anyone's job is meaningless. Everyone has the right to do what they're good at and make enough to support their family. Finally, WE are the ones who will put people like YOU in a middle seat that doesn't recline on the last row of the plane because YOU ticked us off!.

Man you wield so much power and authority, it's awe inspiring.


My Advice: Don't become an insurance agent, they're next in line...
 
Blerg
Posts: 3893
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:42 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:46 am

Coal wrote:
groupguy wrote:
Coal wrote:
Yes and maybe that is the difference. I will look for value for money. To me that doesn't mean the cheapest, but would mean e.g. flying Star Alliance (preferably SQ), 100% mileage earn, ability to select seats, etc., and ability to make changes on mobile/online (a lot of times when you book through a travel agent you can't). So indeed, I do not optimize for cost but for certain conveniences. I also don't want to fly something like Sun Country to stay in a Sandals in Montego Bay, so maybe that's why I am missing the point.
a simple email to an agent, telling them to choose a seat, or too make changes is far quicker. Maybe you don't value your time.

Lol, an email? 2000 called. They want their technology back.


I don't get it, what do you have against emails?
 
OB1504
Posts: 3914
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:10 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:04 pm

Some people prefer booking everything on their own. Good for you, congratulations.

Other people don’t have the time or interest and would rather have someone else take care of everything. That’s the market the travel agencies serve.

Not sure why some posters not seeing the point of travel agencies means that job losses should be celebrated.
 
User avatar
Coal
Posts: 2584
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:14 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:53 am

Blerg wrote:
Coal wrote:
groupguy wrote:
a simple email to an agent, telling them to choose a seat, or too make changes is far quicker. Maybe you don't value your time.

Lol, an email? 2000 called. They want their technology back.


I don't get it, what do you have against emails?

Option 1: Open SQ app (1x tap), open existing booking (1x tap), choose option to change seats (1x tap), choose new seat (1x tap), confirm (1x tap). Total = 5 taps. Let's say 30-60 seconds to get it all done.

Option 2: Open SQ app (1x tap), open existing booking to find out what A/C I will be on (1x tap), open Seat Guru / other seat map app (1x tap), find airline and open (1x tap), find A/C and open (1x tap), open email app (1x tap), type in travel agent email address (many taps...), type email to travel agent (many, many taps...), hit send (1x tap). Wait for a few hours for them to read email, action, and reply... and at the risk of them replying "Sorry, that seat is not available". Total = Too many taps and too long of a wait.
Nxt Flts: SQ SIN-KIX | HD UKB-CTS | NH CTS-NRT | SQ NRT-SIN | AK SIN-DPS-SIN
 
User avatar
Coal
Posts: 2584
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:14 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:54 am

OB1504 wrote:
Some people prefer booking everything on their own. Good for you, congratulations.

Other people don’t have the time or interest and would rather have someone else take care of everything. That’s the market the travel agencies serve.

Not sure why some posters not seeing the point of travel agencies means that job losses should be celebrated.

AGREE! Job losses should absolutely not be celebrated and we should do everything we can (retraining, hiring in areas currently needed, etc.) to make sure these people can get through this crisis.
Nxt Flts: SQ SIN-KIX | HD UKB-CTS | NH CTS-NRT | SQ NRT-SIN | AK SIN-DPS-SIN
 
Blerg
Posts: 3893
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:42 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:23 am

Coal wrote:
Blerg wrote:
Coal wrote:
Lol, an email? 2000 called. They want their technology back.


I don't get it, what do you have against emails?

Option 1: Open SQ app (1x tap), open existing booking (1x tap), choose option to change seats (1x tap), choose new seat (1x tap), confirm (1x tap). Total = 5 taps. Let's say 30-60 seconds to get it all done.

Option 2: Open SQ app (1x tap), open existing booking to find out what A/C I will be on (1x tap), open Seat Guru / other seat map app (1x tap), find airline and open (1x tap), find A/C and open (1x tap), open email app (1x tap), type in travel agent email address (many taps...), type email to travel agent (many, many taps...), hit send (1x tap). Wait for a few hours for them to read email, action, and reply... and at the risk of them replying "Sorry, that seat is not available". Total = Too many taps and too long of a wait.


Many of those things you listed in Option 2 require more than one taps and would take at least 10 to 15 minutes to complete. In the end it comes out to same. People should do what pleases them the most in the end. In our company we book many flights for our partners and we use a travel agency. They usually have great fares, much cheaper than the ones offered online.
 
tonystan
Posts: 1702
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:39 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:09 pm

32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.



Just shows what little you know.

Travel agents are an essential middle man in the travel industry. Most corporations contract agents to manage their corporate travel and people planning major vacations will use a travel agent in order to have as much packaged as possible in a neat bundle which is resilient to unforeseen changes, cancellations, disruption etc.

It’s almost foolish not to use a travel agent. Those who book flight only and plan their holidays around that often lose out when disruption occurs.
My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.
 
User avatar
eta unknown
Posts: 2801
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2001 5:03 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:29 pm

All of FC's Universal Traveller (formerly Student Flights) shops have closed permanently.
 
FGITD
Posts: 817
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:48 pm

tonystan wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.



It’s almost foolish not to use a travel agent. Those who book flight only and plan their holidays around that often lose out when disruption occurs.


The number of times I've seen irrops where the direct purchase tickets get rebooked/rerouted immediately, get their vouchers and are on their way, and the travel agent crowd get stuck behind a blocked ticket and need to call their agent (fun thing to do at 11pm on a Sunday night) greatly favors the direct purchase. Especially when there's only so many seats available on the alternative flight, and the airline mass transfers everyone they can.

But there are certainly benefits to both ends, and while not as necessary as before, I'd hate to see travel agents disappear.

I think most negative responses are in jest reaction to the member who wrote a long winded paragraph routing the agent as the savior of the industry, without whom nothing could proceed.
 
User avatar
aemoreira1981
Posts: 3470
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:17 am

Re: airlines lose huge marketing "arm"

Mon Mar 30, 2020 7:00 pm

tonystan wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
Airlines are trying more and more to sell tickets directly. In the year 2020 there is no reason to drive to a travel agency. Good riddance.



Just shows what little you know.

Travel agents are an essential middle man in the travel industry. Most corporations contract agents to manage their corporate travel and people planning major vacations will use a travel agent in order to have as much packaged as possible in a neat bundle which is resilient to unforeseen changes, cancellations, disruption etc.

It’s almost foolish not to use a travel agent. Those who book flight only and plan their holidays around that often lose out when disruption occurs.


You will pay more with a travel agent, but you'll also likely be buying insurance with it in case something goes wrong. That said, some airlines discourage the use of agents, especially the ULCCs.

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