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-   -   Travel agents are in trouble (https://www.fodors.com/community/air-travel/travel-agents-are-in-trouble-267169/)

Phil Oct 20th, 2002 02:04 AM

Travel agents are in trouble
 
A travel agent that I used for years closed recently. I guess I was partially to blame. Her fees for writing tickets continued to increase as the airlines paid less and less commissions. In self-defense, I started buying tickets on the web and I found the web reliable, economical and actually more convenient than using my agent. I also found that other services such as hotels, car rentals and even cruises were inexpensive and convenient to buy on the web. Obviously, I was not the only one to stop using this travel agent. It's sad, she wasn't at fault. Her services didn't deteriorate. She didn't make some costly error. She's just a victim of technology as so many others in society.<BR><BR>Technology is incredible. There would be no Priceline without the internet. I recently snagged rooms at the Marriott on Times Square during the holiday season for $80 per night. The rooms were over $200 on Marriott's website. Another example of technology out of the reach of travel agents.<BR>

Mike Oct 20th, 2002 07:36 AM

Travel agents serve no useful purpose in todays world!

sister Oct 21st, 2002 07:55 AM

I couldn't agree more. If you are internet savvy at all, you can do your own air/hotel/car bookings. You just have to know your prices. <BR><BR>I know some businessmen would prefer to use a travel agent only because they don't have the time to research routings,fares etc. And their company pays for the ticket. <BR><BR>My only word of advice is don't click on "ok I understand the rules" when you don't. Reading this column I have seen that some people don't understand "no refund" means no refund!.

mercy Oct 21st, 2002 08:17 AM

My business is better than ever this year. Airline ticket sales are up. Why? Who knows, but it's not just travel agencies that are having tough times, internet or no, check out your favorite airline. Low web fares are costing them more than they are me.

thetideisturning Oct 21st, 2002 05:48 PM

US Airways made all of its Web fares available to Sabre-connected travel agents, as of Oct. 21, in a deal Sabre also is offering to other carriers. <BR>Travel agents will eventually have access to ALL fares. <BR>

Jason Oct 22nd, 2002 05:21 AM

I am very PRO TA's.I have used the same one for 15 years.He's awesome.And he told me that soon he will have access to the web fares.But who's gonna call HIM for a webfare they can get on their own/He will have to charge a $fee.Maybe he's missing something.Or maybee AA is missing something.Since they dont pay the TA commissions anymore,why are they making this available?Pressure?From whom??<BR>Jason

Faina Oct 22nd, 2002 03:32 PM

Will the stores be closing because of on-line shopping? Will there be less Safeways as now you can get food on-line? What happened to all the movie theaters when DVD's got invented? Don't worry, the TAs will live, not all of them of course, but they will survive. The fittest ones - per Darwin.

Bobbi Oct 23rd, 2002 06:23 AM

Jason,<BR><BR>The web fares issue has to do with A) discriminatory pricing and B)business travel. Keep in mind that most business travel is not booked via the web. Business travel is conducted under controlled circumstances, but we still wish to be comprehensive and ensure that the lowest fare is being offered. Since most corporate agencies don't operate on commissions or service fees the web fares are very viable to us.<BR><BR>Here's a little side note: The travelers on our account are told to book using a web based self booking tool. The reservations then get cleaned up checked for lower fares and policy compliance, and set up to record the data. The biggest complaint we hear is that they want to talk to a live person. Not because they're going to get a different rate than what they got on the booking engine....but just because.....

no TA basher Oct 23rd, 2002 09:48 AM

Faina and Bobbi have it exactly right. There will always be TAs, because there will always be people who want to use them, whether corporate or individual.<BR>There may not be as many TAs as there are now, but you can say the same thing about full service gas stations and buggy whip makers. Where there's a demand, there'll be a supply.

does it matter Oct 24th, 2002 06:49 AM

I hope you realize how much you are helping the economy. These wonderful websites that you are booking your incredibly low fares or cheap hotels room on are hurting the same companies offering such deals.Do you think Marriott can afford to sell that hotel room for $80.00, no not a chance they are losing money. I hope you realize you are adding to the deficit not eliminating it. Idiots... technology is a great power but also with great power comes disaster. Can't wait to see what you will do when disaster strikes<BR>

xxx Oct 24th, 2002 07:23 AM

Yes, technology is great if you use it correctly. Like perhaps posting this thread on the travel agent and tours forum instead of airlines.<BR><BR>Remember just because you have access to the web doesn't mean you know how to use it properly.

Barbara Oct 24th, 2002 08:12 AM

Marriott is a well run company. If they are selling their rooms on the web for $80 that's all they can get on that night for that room. What should Phil do "contribute" an additional $100 per night to help the economy.<BR><BR>Only a TA could come up with such a irrational argument. What you're really saying is that you don't like Priceline because they are a powerful competitor.

does matter Oct 24th, 2002 08:13 AM

Does,<BR>The problem isn't in one's use of the internet to obtain the best price possible. The problem isn't mine for getting that $80.00 room from Marriott.<BR>The problem if there is one, is MArriott's for making that room available for $80.00 if it's a hardship for them to do so.<BR>But it isn't a hardship if you consider the alternative -- the room sits empty and generates no income.<BR>If Marriott feels that no money is better than a little money, they certainly don't have to put that room in play for priceline or hotels.com, or even on special on their own website.<BR>Or, they could build fewer hotels, thus making supply match more closely to demand.<BR>But to say that I am contributing to the decline and fall of western hotel, airline and rental car civilization as we know it by taking advatage of the offers that those very companies themselves offer, well that's just so much hogwash!

xxx Oct 24th, 2002 11:06 AM

Certain commodities are absolutely 100% perishable in a certain time frame. When the door slams shut on the airplane with empty seats, that is income lost and gone forever. If the airline could go out to the parking lot and off anybody who wants the seats for $10 each that's pure income to them that they would not get if the seat is empty.<BR><BR>Same thing for a hotel room. If the hotel room is empty, the hotel gets nothing. If they sell the hotel room for $31 (to cover $30 cost to clean the room and the water used etc.), that is pure profit they would not have if the room went empty.<BR><BR>The problem for suppliers to figure out is the right mix of last minute seats and rooms to have so that all people who want to stay or fly pay full price or a fuller price than the rates described above.<BR><BR>That is why the stupid regulation of the airlines that they will no longer permit stand by travel makes no logical sense (as do many of the things airlines do like charging twice as much for a flight from NY to STL than for a flight from NY to LAX with a connection in STL) and is one of the reasons they lose money. They have seats available on flight A and somebody wants to go stand by. Since there is nobody available to fill that seat but there may be somebody available for the later flight, what kind of moronic logic is it not to allow the stand by passenger? They are just run by a bunch of jerks.

Vic Oct 30th, 2002 01:28 AM

Business travelers apparently are gambling with restricted tickets in the hope that they can use them without any changes. The classic is a meeting that ends early and the participant wants to go home early or the meeting ends late and he wants to take a later flight. What the airlines are doing is trying to encourage flyers who must be flexible into buying flexible tickets.

Jim Oct 30th, 2002 04:53 AM

I seems obvious as Vic says that the airlines are trying to get business people to buy less flexible more expensive tickets by making the penalty for changes very harsh.<BR><BR>I'm not sure that the airlines are comfortable with the impact of these rules on leisure travelers, but I guess you can't have one set of penalties for business people and another one for vacationers.

Bobo Oct 30th, 2002 10:56 AM

Many blacksmiths, river boat captains and caddies have lost their jobs over the years as well. Technology pushes society forward creating new jobs and eliminating old ones. It is sad on an individual level when someone loses their job but that's the way the world works. Any other questions??


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