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anyone at VA listening ? Anyone at all ?

wholesaler

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Hi,

Have been reading posts in these forums for a while now & with the current downturn, I thought I would post some of our frustrations with airlines.

We are a wholesaler. We sell holiday packages, in dollar terms, mostly to USA, but also Europe, UK, New Zealand, Canada & Japan.

In terms of USA, we sent 437 families to USA between mid November 2019 when school holidays started & end of January 2020.

Families can be anywhere from 2 to 9 people in total.

None of our packages can be purchased online. You could try & if you did succeed to buy all the components online, you would pay a lot more, maybe 20-30% more.

Over 40% of these families get their own airfares, on various airlines, often after discussing with us & looking at their budgets. A small % get frequent flyer tickets, but as mostly in or near peak season, frequent flyer tickets are hard to get.

The rest we get from certain airlines. None from VA.

We have tried to deal with VA, but their bureaucracy is worse than the public service, so we simply gave up talking to them & deal with other airlines flying to USA.

Most of our clients do not fly at the absolute peak of peak season, meaning they tend to avoid departing just before Christmas & majority end up departing end of DEC, or after 1st week of JAN. Most stay in USA 2-3 weeks & for last few years, those with younger kids, actually arrive home, day before school starts or even day or 2 or more after.

So, we put this out there to see if ANYONE at VA is listening.

If someone, anyone at VA is not reading posts about VA, then maybe they should.

Be very interested in seeing if we do get any message from anyone at VA or are VA stuck doing things the old way, which doesn't seem to be working that well.
 

TheInsider

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If VA don't want to entertain any of your requests why even bother to give them more chances and get their attention? If they are failing as a provider, ditch their business. I don't get it?
 

AustraliaPoochie

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We (use to)/used to have a VA rep on here, but I think that he/she has gone the way of our former QF rep, aka RedRoo.
Ie, now more of a hands off policy.
He/she hasn't appeared too regularly on here of late.
None of us on here have openly said they work for VA, and eve if they did, they would not dare say or do too much, a lot of the VA jobs (via TT), are on the line, so your gripe on here, is a road to nowhere.
Maybe a vent on your part, or a gripe, but none of us on here can do anything to further your cause.
Don't think even PS as in the newly appointed CEO is interested.
One tip, maybe is to write to your VA rep, or to your contact person at VA, I am sure that there is someone officially that your business deals with.
If not, then as colleauge above has said, time to go with another airline.
Either QF or SQ via SIN.
We have only got either QF, or VA direct to the US, and many other countries.
QF if you must have an Aust dom to int, or int to dom provider.
Sorry for the waffly diatribe, **and yes, I do a lot of times make not much sense.
 

juddles

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....or are VA stuck doing things the old way, which doesn't seem to be working that well.....
In my opinion Virgin has not found a solid identity, or business plan. They effectively need a "North" on which to focus. Perhaps part of that plan could be to actually sensibly cater to people like yourself....
 

wholesaler

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If VA don't want to entertain any of your requests why even bother to give them more chances and get their attention? If they are failing as a provider, ditch their business. I don't get it?
No one wants VA Int to shrink anymore or go away completely. That would be a disaster for everyone, especially the reduction in competition.

But VA seems to have been weighed down with middle management.

It was announced last year that 750 were to go saving the company $75m/year, but how many of these people have gone already ? Does anyone know ?

If you’ve ever tried to deal with VA, you get passed around, with no one seemingly game to make a decision.

Yes, we want to buy seats at cheaper prices, or at least be competitive with what’s out there online.

Many clients will change their preferred dates by 2, 3 or even more days, to save on airfares, so we often have clients, going on days where imagine even at either end of peak season, flights aren't full.

For example 31DEC depart is not very popular, as many want to have NYE in Australia. Also after 1st week of JAN demand for flights departing Australia drops significantly & more so after 2nd week.

Online prices can only be lower for a number of reasons:-

  1. Some agent getting high commission & then passing some of that on
  2. Some agent getting incentive overriding commissions, which may mean, they sell some airfares at a loss, at end of term(month, ¼ , year to reach that incentive payment)
  3. Agent has incredibly low overheads – you could say that online has low overheads, but many travel consultants work on commission only, from home(so minimal head office expenses), no retainers, so that’s very low overheads
We summise that around 95% of our direct or clients via agents fly to USA with

QF, AA, UA, DL, VA, NZ or FJ.

Some seem to combine business trips via Asia, but currently none are flying VA booked through us. That's zero, nadda, zip. Increased demand helps yields, but VA are not pushed from our end.

VA rep ? What's that ? We don't see VA reps. Got an email from one once in last 10 years.

Lastly, very few of the clients we book flights for, care about one frequent flyer program over another. Many ask for the Qantas fare, but then revert to another airline, when they find it's significantly cheaper when you multiply it by the number in the family or group.

AustralianPoochie

you said above

"We have only got either QF, or VA direct to the US, and many other countries.
QF if you must have an Aust dom to int, or int to dom provider."

Only QF & VA direct to U.S. ? Are you in BNE ? If so, you also have HA direct, but SYD & MEL have many other options & even OOL has NZ via AKL.

& you can use VA domestically if you need to connect to an international flight.
Post automatically merged:

guess what ?

No private message from either someone at VA or someone saying contact this person at VA.

Surely someone at VA looks at what's being said on certain aviation related forums ? Know QF does & am sure many other airlines do as well.
 

wholesaler

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QF doesnt anymore, not on here anyway.
Have you tried writing your gripes to VA.
Re HA BNE - HNL I stand corrected.
I'd bet a million dollars someone at QF keeps an eye on what's being said in aviation forums.

For a start they've want to know if any lies being told about them.

They might not reply here, but they could easily read everything related to QF & opposition.

Think about it, there must be a few frequent flyers on here (not just people who earn ff points through credit cards) & any airline wants to keep their frequent flyers happy. The last thing they want, is a frequent flyer going to another airline, especially if business person who pays high last minute fares & flies very regularly.

QF spend a lot on advertising, but some minor detail/new idea, picked up here, could make them big $$$ without spending big $$$.

Write to VA ? Been there done that. Hopeless. Makes you wonder if they have their priorities right.
 

SeaWolf

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If you're booking that much onto the other airlines then I'm not sure why you're so keen to be chasing after VA. Are the other options not working out for some reason?
For whatever reason VA have decided they aren't interested in dealing with you, or that you just aren't a priority. Complaining on here that you've been spurned is not likely to change that.
 

wholesaler

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If you're booking that much onto the other airlines then I'm not sure why you're so keen to be chasing after VA. Are the other options not working out for some reason?
For whatever reason VA have decided they aren't interested in dealing with you, or that you just aren't a priority. Complaining on here that you've been spurned is not likely to change that.
we don't want VA International to disappear completely, as that will lead to higher fares & less business for everyone. Higher fares mean less clients for us & inbound as well.

Lots of talk about how badly VA are doing financially. Moral at VA seems low, at least among pilots. eg. A330 pilots worried about how they are going to pay their mortgages when no work/no pay & they talk to B777/B737 pilots & so on.

WTF are sales managers/reps/BDMs doing ? Swanning around with the likes of Flight Centre(FC) agents ? The more business the likes of FC do with VA, the more commission they will demand.

Sales Managers/reps/BDMs should be finding ways to get more business, as well as keeping existing business happy.

In Australia, agents account for something like 60% of all international bookings. VA online almost always seem to have fares much higher than through online travel agents, but there are discount codes off various fares, but even they often work out more expensive that through OTAs.
 

SeaWolf

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WTF are sales managers/reps/BDMs doing ?
Probably spending their time and efforts with businesses that they consider worthwhile dealing with. For whatever reason they've decided that's not you. Maybe you weren't bringing anything to the table that VA was interested in.
Coming on here to gripe about that isn't going to change it.
 

wholesaler

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Probably spending their time and efforts with businesses that they consider worthwhile dealing with. For whatever reason they've decided that's not you. Maybe you weren't bringing anything to the table that VA was interested in.
Coming on here to gripe about that isn't going to change it.
having worked as a travel rep decades ago, think the scenario might go like this.

Rep or BDM reports to sales manager that he/she has called on A, B, C & new agent D. Blah blah, blah. So it appears Rep or BDM doing their job, but sounds like no one is following up on whether A, B, C did any more business after the sales call or whether D did any business at all. Seen reps bluff their way, pretending doing lots of work & doing SFA. Maybe VA has lots of dead wood.

You'd think if working at VA & told 750 were to go, you'd get off your butt to try & avoid being one of the 750.
 

jakeseven7

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WTF are sales managers/reps/BDMs doing ? Swanning around with the likes of Flight Centre(FC) agents ? The more business the likes of FC do with VA, the more commission they will demand.

Sales Managers/reps/BDMs should be finding ways to get more business, as well as keeping existing business happy.
Probably got made redundant in the huge cuts to headcount PS is currently making....
 

SeaWolf

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You'd think if working at VA & told 750 were to go, you'd get off your butt to try & avoid being one of the 750.
Or they could have simply looked at what you were offering and made a decision that the time spent bringing you onboard and servicing your account is just not worth it for the business you'll bring in. They've then directed their efforts somewhere that is worth their time.
Given that 750 were to go they'd want to get off their butt and spend their time and efforts focusing on bringing in worthwhile business.
 

wholesaler

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Or they could have simply looked at what you were offering and made a decision that the time spent bringing you onboard and servicing your account is just not worth it for the business you'll bring in. They've then directed their efforts somewhere that is worth their time.
Given that 750 were to go they'd want to get off their butt and spend their time and efforts focusing on bringing in worthwhile business.
we had a quick look at what 437 families equating to in bodies. Around 2000 pax. Not saying that any great % would end up on VA, but could be 500 or more easily. Can VA afford to ignore any number of potential long haul bookings ?
 

ozfflyer

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phoned an agent in SYD recently responding to an emailed special & asked what the package airfare was (they didn't sell airfare only) & they gave us the qantas price & asked for virgin price as usually expect virgin to be cheaper & they said they don't deal with virgin at all.
 

SeaWolf

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Not saying that any great % would end up on VA,
And on top of that they're very price sensitive, low value travelers and you're looking to sell discounted wholesale packages.
It shouldn't be a surprise at all that VA isn't following up with you.
 

wholesaler

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And on top of that they're very price sensitive, low value travelers and you're looking to sell discounted wholesale packages.
It shouldn't be a surprise at all that VA isn't following up with you.
just because a family doesn't want to spend a lot on airfares for a family with a tribe of kids, doesn't mean they wouldn't be a good catch, as an actual frequent flyer.

A family of 7, might not want to pay $500 more per person extra, but one of the parents might fly SYD/MEL once a week for work.

Sometimes wholesale fares are actually higher than some sale retail fares.

Besides saw on another thread that VA is offering travel industry staff return to LAX from $499 + taxes of $200 on fringes of peak season, through some industry travel group who must be making commission on those fares. Might only be $50 each.
 

HS-TQE

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And on top of that they're very price sensitive, low value travelers and you're looking to sell discounted wholesale packages.
It shouldn't be a surprise at all that VA isn't following up with you.
If this "business" is a "BestJet" style "seller", which sells mostly discount/low yielding tickets (combined with the risks of going broke like BestJet), I would not be surprised if VA passed up on this "business" for that reason.
 

odysseus

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just because a family doesn't want to spend a lot on airfares for a family with a tribe of kids, doesn't mean they wouldn't be a good catch, as an actual frequent flyer.

A family of 7, might not want to pay $500 more per person extra, but one of the parents might fly SYD/MEL once a week for work.
And if that’s the case they’ll have to fly the airline dictated by their corporate policies, and/or will already have signed up to an FF program of their choice for the flights they’re already taking. A separate discretionary holiday purchase won’t change that equation.

Or iIf you’re suggesting there’s something to be gained from speculatively dealing with low value customers because one of them may become an FF in the future (and then won’t have to worry about which airline to fly policies, or that their selection may not be affected by routes, timing and pricing at the time) that’s an incredibly long speculative hope, and given the volume not worth worrying about – and moreover not something that’s going to help with actual revenue figures right now that you’re talking about.
 

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