I'm really starting to feel sorry for TA's

Reply

Aug 21st, 2002, 01:03 PM
  #1
John
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'm really starting to feel sorry for TA's

I needed tickets for my family so I called my TA who said that she would charge me a fee of $15 per ticket on Southwest because they were still paying she a small commission. I told her that I would book it myself to save a total fee of $60. She said she understood.

Well to add injury to insult. Southwest gives you double frequent flyer points if you do not use an agent. That's an additional savings of approximately 10%. In my case that was a total savings of $140 on $800 worth of tickets. That's a savings of almost 20%.

I bet other airlines are doing rewarding self bookers in various ways. How can a travel agent compete?
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2002, 01:19 PM
  #2
oh
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I don't think southwest wants anybody selling thier tickets but southwest. orbitz,travelocity etc. very hard to find a ticket. very easy on southwest.com. the very piece of technology in front of you will put travel agents out of work, aside from charter packages.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2002, 01:24 PM
  #3
mercy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Customers use a travel agent because they don't wish, for one reason or another, to book online. They use a travel agent because we can issue inexpensive domestic tickets without Saturday night stays. They use an agent because they can save hundreds on complicated international tickets. There's lots of reasons. Just as many as why many people don't use an agent. I don't much understand why anyone would use an agent for simple tickets unless they don't have a cc or access to the internet. Some people do and some don't. Whats the big mystery?
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2002, 01:25 PM
  #4
AA
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
It's an industry that's dying very quickly, just like the shoe repair shops about 30 years ago
At one time they were the only ones that had access to airline and hotels reservation systems, but with the advent of Internet, we all have access now. In the old days the airlines and hotels encouraged us to use the travel agent as it saved them money of keeping a huge reservation staff. It was cheaper for them to pay a little commission. Now the industry realized that most of us could be and are our own travel agents. Many of us traveled enough to know some of the ins and outs of travel. So they figured they could bypass the TAs and deal directly with us.
To be honest, I never had a high opinion of the mom/pop travel agency. At best they knew how to book a plane ticket or make a hotel reservation. If you asked them anything about some exotic location, they did what we all do now, went back and read a book, looked at the tour company brochure, or looked at a video that the company provided, and then made us think that they actually had knowledge about our question. The only TA's that will survive for the next couple of generations will be the highly knowledgable TAs that specialize in exotic locations. The corner stores will be gone soon.
Another good comparison are the video stores. You have to admit, it wasn't such a bad thing. The big ones did not charge any more once they conquered the market, yet their selection and operations were more suitable to most of us.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2002, 01:28 PM
  #5
glenda
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Oh, Southwest pays a commission? Why would they do that if they don't have too?
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2002, 03:43 PM
  #6
TA
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Well, I for one don't care to compete. I do packages, dream vacations, cruises, international airfare. For all I care people can go ahead and book online for their domestic tickets. So many people on this board think our focus is domestic air, and that is just plain wrong. If I want an airline ticket to see grandma in LA, I book online too! No big deal. The true value of an agent isn't the good airfare they can get, but the value and service and experience they add to your vacation and their ability to solve problems.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 21st, 2002, 07:50 PM
  #7
lisa
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I wish the traveling public really understood the problem. What the demise of commissions did was take away a free choice that everyone has. That choice is to book themselves with the airline, book on-line or book with an agent for no difference in cost. Now agents have been cut out of the equation. Now Continental has announced that it would like to charge everyone a fee who doesn't book directly with them. So there go the internet sites. So basically your choice if this goes through is book with Continental or don't book. It won't be long before our freedom of choice is to contact each airline directly get a price for a ticket and pray that by the time we contact all of them and call back the best ticket price is still available. Which of course it won't be.

Some freedome of choice.

Don't you see it's not the agents who are going to pay in the long run. It's the traveling public.

And all the grief that agents got for not filling out ARC reports correctly, getting Debit Memos, maintaining ticket stock and having to follow all the airlines rules will now be passed on to the traveling public. Now everyone will get to see first hand just how idiotic this system of air transportation really is.

God help us all.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 22nd, 2002, 05:11 AM
  #8
Larry
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
lisa,

Instead of taking away choices, the internet has created new opportunities. You want the services of a TA you pay. Do it yourself on the web you save. What could be fairer.

A few generations ago when self service gas stations are starting up, gas station owners were pleading with legislatures to ban them. They said that consumers were too stupid to safely pump their own gas. Sound familiar?

 
Reply With Quote
Aug 22nd, 2002, 06:13 AM
  #9
Barbara
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
lisa,

Now Continental has announced that it would like to charge everyone a fee who doesn't book directly with them. So there go the internet sites. So basically your choice if this goes through is book with Continental or don't book.

What fee?
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 22nd, 2002, 06:33 AM
  #10
Rich
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've found that I like booking online directly through the airline's website best, anyway. If I don't know which airline I want, I check prices on Expedia or Travelocity or somewhere, and then go do the actual booking with the airline. Certain things seem easier, like seat selection, and it also seems that it's easier to get a problem fixed if you've booked through the airline than if you've booked through somebody else.

Then there's Southwest, who make it just about impossible to book anywhere but on their website, which is fine with me because I think their online reservations are the easiest of any airline. I wish all the airlines' sites could be more like SWA's.

I haven't booked a flight through a travel agent since about 1995.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 22nd, 2002, 02:16 PM
  #11
Brandi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Please don t feel sorry for us. We are doing just fine. Most TA that have been in the business for 15 to 20 years have a very loyal clientele. I have a client that came in today to book a Celebrity Cruise, said he had already looked it up on the net and new the price which was approx $4400.00. I called and got the rate for $3500.00 because of the state we live in. So go ahead and book on the net, we will survive.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 07:06 AM
  #12
Peter
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I know this is an airline forum, but since we're talking travel agents here...

Airline tickets are only the tip of the iceburg for TA's. Following close behind are Hotel rooms, rental cars and cruises. There are already "internet specials" for hotels and rental cars that TA's can't see on their computers. I know this because I do a fair amount of business travel and when I ask our in-house travel agency to book a certain hotel at a certain rate that I've seen on-line, she says its an internet special and she can't book it.

I cruise twice a year and I can assure you that no TA can get a cheaper price than I can on-line. Yes, I know the ropes a lot better than most; but, as this technology improves, every cruiser will discover that going thru a TA is no longer a requirement like it was even five years ago.

Bottom line is you give computer literate travellers the tools they need to book anything on line and they will. I'd be willing to bet that when my teenage daughters graduate from college and begin to plan their first vacations, using travel agents won't even be a consideration (they have no idea they even exist - travel agent? what do they do? they what?).
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 07:14 AM
  #13
whatif
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Your teenage daughters start to really like planning travel, and decide it's so much fun that they'd like to assist others planning as well. Heck, maybe even make a living from their knowledge of people and places. Would you disown them?
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 07:40 AM
  #14
Larry
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I wouldn't disown her. I'd try to talk her out of it. Very few TA's make any money. To live in poverty is sad.

 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 08:03 AM
  #15
cando
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Living with such an angry person as you must be worse than living in poverty.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 08:17 AM
  #16
Michelle
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Peter does raise a valid point about relatively young people being less likely to use travel agents. I'm hardly a teenager (34) and I've never used one for personal travel (our firm uses one for business). I've traveled a fair amount - I've been to 32 countries so far. It's not that I have anything against travel agents - I just haven't had a need for them. Most of the extensive traveling I've done has been in the last 10-15 years and I find that it's very easy to plan trips on my own. None of my younger siblings or my friends around my age or younger seem to use them either.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 09:03 AM
  #17
hanna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Good on you! Approximately 50% of adult travelers do not use an agent. The other 50% do. I think everyone should do as they wish, don't you?
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 09:11 AM
  #18
doc
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Feeling sorry for TA is like feeling sorry for doctors who are suffering B/C of managed care, which I don't think too many people are. The ones that have a good client list will survive, but at a lower income.
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 09:31 AM
  #19
Peter
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hanna - so if the 50% that don't use an agent are in the 20 to 45 year old range (on average) and the 50% that do us an agent are in the 45 to 70 yer old range; whats going to happen to agents 15 to 20 years from now???????????
 
Reply With Quote
Aug 23rd, 2002, 09:36 AM
  #20
hanna
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I don't know Peter. What's going to happen with your profession in 15 - 20 years? I'm in sales, not travel, and imagine there will always be something to sell. What about you? will the internet take your job?
 
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:28 AM.