Written By: Bri Terry, Copywriter – Sky Bird Travel & Tours
If you are currently working with an airline consolidator, you know that you are already advancing your business and better serving your clients. It means, aside from designing travel itineraries, you include selling airfare and booking flights in your services. Liberating clients from this task alone ensures you are worth the hire, and you get the opportunity to earn commission on flights.
What is an Airline Consolidator?
Travel agents use airline consolidators to access net fares, which can be up to 30% less than the published fares one would find online. A travel agent can purchase tickets at the discounted price and resell them to their clients after making their own markup. Net fare prices allow the travel agent to use the savings to get their clients an impressive deal while making good commission for themselves. The savings build trust and reliability with clients, which translates into repeat business (and increased business when they recommended you to their friends).
There are more advantages to working with an airline consolidator. Keep reading to learn how to get the most out of yours:
Register for Their Online Booking Portal
Online booking systems are an invaluable resource designed to help travel agents do business more efficiently. Working with an airline consolidator gives you the benefit of using their online booking system, which you access by setting up an account. For example, travel agents can register with Sky Bird Travel & Tours’ WINGS booking engine for free. After approval (which usually occurs within 24 hours), travel agents use WINGS to manage the entire booking operation – getting great deals on flights and plenty of industry support along the way. A travel agent can search and book flights, hotels, cars, land activities, and more on the WINGS portal alone.
Explore Your Options
An airline consolidator’s quality and reputation is strongly indicated by the number of airline partners they work with. Travel agents get the most flight options when working with an airline consolidator that has contracts with many airlines – we’re talking more than 90 airline partners. A good airline consolidator has contracts with international airlines as well as regional. The “right flight” isn’t always based on which is the cheapest. Duration, number of stops, meal options, seating, and additional fees play huge roles in determining whether or not the flight is fitting. When you have to take all those factors into consideration, you are going to want more than a few search results.
Airline consolidators narrow the search in order to help you get the right flight for your clients. Exclusive deals can also be a perk of their strong partnerships. Ask your consolidator if there are any special offers available. An airline consolidator wants to help you earn as much as possible and is happy to help.
Seize Your Opportunity to Upsell
Most travelers don’t mind discomfort during transportation in favor of significant savings until they find themselves with no leg space on a 20-hour flight. Because your airline consolidator is already saving you money with net fares, the price of upgrading clients to a more comfortable cabin is less outrageous. Ask your consolidator about seat upgrades. If your clients are traveling to a far off land that requires a lot of air time, they will appreciate you coming to them with a low-cost opportunity to make their flight experience more enjoyable. It is also another chance for you to earn commission on the upgrade.
Use Their Itinerary Planning Expertise
Using your airline consolidator’s itinerary planning services relieves you of the workload and does your clients’ vacation justice by getting input from those who know a lot about a particular destination. If you are hitting creative roadblocks or don’t know enough about a place to confidently provide prime recommendations, call your airline consolidator. They are global travel experts and help travel agents in the same way a travel agent helps clients. You will receive itinerary assistance and information on attractions that add more value to your clients’ experience. Whether you are starting from scratch or filling empty days with enjoyable activities, ask your airline consolidator for ideas on what clients can do at their destinations.
Simplify Booking Large Groups
Did you know your airline consolidator’s savvy and resources can manage the complexities of large group bookings and allow you to deliver an unforgettable trip? Destination weddings/reunions, sports team travel, religious pilgrimages, voluntourism and study abroad programs have gained popularity over the last few years, yet managing them has not become less chaotic. If you are planning travel for a group of 10 or more people, get group assistance from your airline consolidator. They can assist with itinerary planning, relieving you from the overwhelming logistics of managing all those people. They can also negotiate lower deposits when an airline demands a pricey one. A consolidator’s extra pull gives them purchasing power when it comes to securing the right number of seats at the same low price for everyone.
Utilize Their 24/7 Support
Airline consolidators offer extended hours because they understand a travel agent’s schedule varies. The best airline consolidators provide 24/7 customer support because they know unexpected issues have no respect for regular business hours. When something happens that alters your clients’ travel plans, your airline consolidator is on-call to immediately remedy the chaos.
There are scads of advantages to working with an airline consolidator beyond low airfare. Talk to your consolidator to learn the benefits they personally bring to their travel agents, and ensure you are using the many resources provided to reach new heights in your business.