May 20, 2013

It’s not all about the commission, travel agents’ hotel needs have evolved


Although commissions remain a top priority, a simple booking process is one of the most important criteria for travel agents when booking a hotel. Travel agents also prefer hotel booking channels that help maximise revenue and offer the flexibility of real-time access to rates.

Today’s travel agent needs to respond to changing consumer preferences by providing a one-stop service to travellers, particularly given the rising demand for ancillary options when travellers book their hotels. This translates to providing travellers with rich information beyond the traditional rate and availability, assisting travellers in making an informed choice best suited to their needs.

A recent Amadeus provided intriguing insight into how cross-selling add-on services are key to ensuring travel agents attract and retain customers who are pre-booking hotel rooms. Airport transfers and sightseeing tours represent the biggest cross-selling opportunities, with travel agents increasingly offering to help travellers rent cars, purchase concert tickets, make dinner reservations, and even buy metro passes. Nowadays, travel agents need to do more than book a bed for the night, by assisting with the booking of other elements of a trip.

Additionally, the survey revealed that hotel reviews by travellers have overtaken brand power. In comparison to 2010, these findings show a marked decrease in pure brand influence which has been overtaken by user reviews with 70% of travellers checking reviews prior to choosing a hotel. With increased use of social media and other online travel resources, travellers are armed with a great deal more information that before, hence the decline in brand power.

Overall, travel agents have also experienced a gradual decrease in the degree of influence that they have on a traveller’s final choice of hotel, with only one in three (32%) travel agents responding that customers heed their hotel recommendations without question, compared to one in two (51%) from 2010.

Get the full story at the Amadeus blog