IN OTHER NEWS:
Combining social media with
personalized service is a winning
strategy for travel agents.
Two days in a Norwegian Epic
studio cabin convinced me the
concept is ingenious.
Section 1 of 2
THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
OCTOBER 25, 2010
TRAVEL INDUSTRY SURVEY 2010
[ TRANSPARENCY AT ISSUE ]
The GDSs deny
motive to delay
Disputing charges in filing
by Farelogix with the DOT
By Michael Fabey
ILLUS TRA TION B Y MARISH/SHU T TERS TOCK. COM
[ TACKLING A KEY CHALLENGE FOR AGENTS ]
Host agencies, consortia expand focus on lead generation
By Johanna Jainchill
Travel agents like to trumpet their ability to
sell, their intense product knowledge and the
unsurpassed customer service they offer.
What many brag about far less is their
ability to find new customers.
Travel sellers are not alone in this.
A recent survey in Selling Power magazine,
a publication focused on sales training and
education, found that lead generation was
the single most important sales issue, followed by prospecting.
In all, 55% of the respondents said the biggest obstacle for sales professionals was identifying clients.
Scott Koepf, the recently appointed vice
president of sales for America’s Vacation
Center, said that challenge has been apparent
to him in both his former position as head
of the National Association of Career Travel
Agents and, before that, as the general manager of the Nexion host agency and president
of Cruise Holidays International.
In his former positions, Koepf said, he realized that the marketing aspect of being a
travel agent was so difficult that it stymied
growth for otherwise talented salespeople
who had to sell products and services to their
clients while also learning everything they
could about marketing.
“It is difficult to be an expert in both
fields,” he said. “There are travel profession-
als who really know the business. They are
well trained in sales and know how to deal
with clients and have good relationships, but
where they struggle is how to get the clients.”
Jack Mannix, the former president of En-
semble Travel who now has his own consul-
tancy, said most retailers do not focus nearly
enough on lead generation.
GDSs last week bristled at the assertion they were dragging their
feet on developing technology that
would enable travel agents to include ancillary fees in the booking
process because they fear it would
result in a loss of control, revenue
and market share.
In a recent filing with the U.S. Depart-
ment of Transportation, James Davidson, the
The sharing of
such information is
taking on growing
importance as air-
unbundle and re-
bundle flight services as a means of increas-
ing revenue, making it far more difficult for
agents and other distributors to determine
the true all-in costs of air travel.
In a filing responding to the DOT’s new
rule proposals on fare transparency, Davidson recently wrote: “Airline distribution
technology and processes already exist, and
are in use today, which allow airlines to provide the type of consistent and desired level
of disclosure and transparency needed for
consumers to make informed shopping,
comparison and buying decisions about
See FEES on Page 91
Tight capacity, a pickup in traffic and additional fees contribute to soar- ing Q3 profits for the major airlines. Page 14.