Hotel companies are stepping up efforts to sell through traditional travel agents, and bookings via agent channels show signs of increasing. The reason: Travel agent bookings tend to yield higher rates and longer stays for hotel companies than other channels, and hotels are taking notice.
“The quality of business being booked by agents is significantly different than that being produced through other channels,” said Douglas Quinby, senior director, research, for PhoCusWright.
Lodging company initiatives to drive travel agent sales are not dramatic – they range from enhanced training programs to investments in technology and commission payment systems. But they do signal renewed interest by hoteliers.
Not that hoteliers ever forgot agents. For all the changes in distribution systems, hotels have maintained a remarkably stable relationship with traditional agents through the years. Most major hotel companies still pay 10% commission, and most continue to offer incentive and reward plans.