What’s the Truth About Competition in the Travel Industry?
Do you think that because a travel agency has a well known name that their prices are less than anyone else?
Every month I get my AAA magazine. That is the one with all the travel specials inside and then lots of articles about where to go and what to see locally.
I love reading those articles because I like the 3-4 day trips in the Pacific Northwest. But the part I really love are the cruise “specials” they advertise.
Here is the way the travel agencies work.
- You have the “brick and mortar” or “store front” agencies. There used to be hundreds of those.
- Then you have “home-based” travel agents.
Let’s look at both of these.
For many years you could walk down most city business streets and find a number of travel companies. What happened to them?
The business that made those agencies prosper was the airline ticket business. Then deregulation happened and the airlines began cutting commissions paid to the travel agents. I might add this is when the airline’s problems began. Those travel agencies ran piles of tickets every day, particularly for business travelers. There was hand writing on the wall and one day, there were no more commissions. But instead of moving into leisure or vacation travel, many put their heads in the sand and believed that the airlines would come back. They didn’t. Thus the death of many “brick and mortar” agencies.
Many of those agents took their business and moved home.
This phase of the travel business has exploded. The biggest problem is how to find us. Mostly it has to come from word of mouth referrals. Many of us are out in the market place advertising, networking, doing shows and being visable. So how do the prices you pay for travel differ from “brick and mortar” to “home based”?
Not long ago, the cruise lines decided to level the playing field for the cruise pricing. Great news for the home-based agent. Now we can complete with the Big Boys. Many tour operators do the same. Every month when my AAA magazine comes, I check my pricing against theirs. In every case, I can beat them!!! Good news for the consumer.
- Now you get a personal professional agent who will hold your hand through the whole travel experience.
- You don’t get a different person every time you call. Many of the Big Boys hire “order takers” who may not have ever left home, let alone take a cruise or tour.
- So, not only can you save money you get my personal service and experience because I have traveled the world.
Costco is another of the big agencies. People have the mistaken idea that they are lower priced. That is true with toilet paper, but not necessarily true with travel. And again, these are “order takers”. Talk to a professional who travels and will help you see the world before you leave it.
I love the competition and I love beating up on the Big Boys!! Cruise & Tour Planners
If you moved away from using a certified travel agent, come on back. I am waiting for you!
***originally published 6/2012