IN OTHER NEWS:
An agency’s size will determine
what kind of buyer the owner
pursues when selling.
Hoteliers are in a mood to
spruce up their properties. But
who will pick up the tab?
THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
OCTOBER 15, 2012
By Kate Rice
Contradicting long-accepted assumptions in
the travel business, leisure agents — some of
whom spurned air for nearly two decades —
are once again taking home millions of dollars in airline commissions.
They’re able to do this because the agency
marketing groups they’re associated with
— host agencies and consortia — have negotiated preferred supplier agreements that
come with point-of-sale commissions and
What’s more, in an era when the acronym
“GDS” can cause new entrants’ eyes to glaze
over, host agencies and consortia are offering
their members new ways to book air, such
as air desks staffed by experts who simply
take over the air portion of a booking, and
easy-to-use, point-and-click, B2B air book-
Hosts, consortia have agents
booking air profitably again SEE PAGE 17 FROM THE WINDOW SEAT
These air programs also come with built-in quality controls to prevent the dreaded
airline debit memos, which can devastate a
small agency and which have discouraged
many agencies from selling air at all.
Best of all, these new preferred-supplier
agreements mean agents can offer their clients exclusive products and services: seats
not available to consumers in general, upgrades or waived penalty fees.
Of course, a large part of the leisure
agency community never did stop selling
air, primarily because they understood that
airlines never entirely stopped paying commissions.
The Travel Leaders franchise group, for
example, never ceded that business to online travel agencies (OTAs). And Montrose
See AIR on Page 70
Toblerones to Snickers: A microcosm
By Arnie Weissmann
of why hotel customers are not happy
According to a recent J.D. Power consumer- satisfaction study, the hospitality industry has reached a seven-year low
in the key areas of check-in/check-out, services, facilities and food
and beverage. It’s within one point
of the low for the guestroom itself.
These results were front and center during
the opening CEO Panel at last week’s Cor-
nell University Hotel Research Summit, held
in Ithaca, N. Y., and although the reasons for
the decline are complex, they can perhaps
best be summarized by my recent experi-
ences with Toblerones and Snickers.