Login Now to remove this and all advertisements (GOLD and SILVER members)
Not a member? Register Now for free

Travel Agents - What Booking Options Do They Have Access To?

Status
Not open for further replies.

NoName

Established Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Messages
1,789
Points
565
What websites/systems do travel agents like flight centre have access to? Can they book through the expedia Brazils etc that people on this site seem to be able to utilise for such great fares? Or are they restricted to Australian based sites?

How much cheaper are they likely to be able to do as an employee benefit compared to what the average non-AFF traveler will be able to find with minimal effort? I assume all they'd be likely to do is perhaps waive the agency commission they receive from the airlines?
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
17,743
Solutions
2
Points
2,800
Qantas
Platinum
I use a mid sized, TA in Melbourne that probably mostly looks after mid sized to small corporates, but also lots of individuals (like me). Not like Flight Centre, and I don't think FC will give you service such as the below, unless you are an established client (but I'm only guessing about FC).

I believe their main transaction system is 'GDS' or Global Distribution System. Most mainstream hotels, tours etc are on their GDS, but not all. I understand that when they book through GDS, they automatically get credited with their commission. In my experience, the price of a hotel or flight booked through my TA is about the same as what I could get doing it myself. Sometimes a bit cheaper, sometimes a bit dearer. But I give it to the TA as they spend their time sorting things out, giving me options, foreseeing issues etc. For flights, they will use the Amadeus or Galileo booking engines, and again, take their commission from the airlines. They have a direct line to airline reps, so can ask about anomalies, availabilities and 'rules'.

When a hotel isn't on the GDS my TA just tells me, sometimes suggesting I might book it myself, but other times booking it through the hotel web site or Expedia etc for me. If they do this for a corporate, they will charge a booking fee, as they won't be earning commission. The only hassle I've had is from Accor, whose hotels sometimes think a TA booking doesn't earn points, as I'm not the one paying. But I point out that all the TA has done is use my cc, and then its all sweet.

TAs have access to tour 'wholesalers' who can stitch together a custom tour etc, which may not be apparent on any web site.

How much cheaper are they likely to be able to do as an employee benefit compared to what the average non-AFF traveler will be able to find with minimal effort? I assume all they'd be likely to do is perhaps waive the agency commission they receive from the airlines?

Not sure what you mean here. You can't expect them to waive their commission ... AFFers may be able to get fares cheaper via various investigations, but on the other hand, my TA lets me know of various airline deals sometimes not available by simple inspection of the web site. And again, as long as I get a decent fare, I'm happy for the TA to book it, as they then look after any changes / re-bookings and (for instance) can roll-forward bookings, thus putting off the time when payment is needed. My TA looks after seats, keeping an eye on availability etc etc.

Bottom line - many here have the knowledge to get great deals themselves, and enjoy the process so do well without a TA. I enjoy the planning, and research, then hand it over to the TA to book, anything, worldwide, as I don't have the time or patience to do the mechanics.

Hope that helps.
 

NoName

Established Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Messages
1,789
Points
565
Thanks for your detailed reply. Much appreciated and as I expected really. On average they are going to end up much the same as if you put the time in to search and book yourself. I guess as a specific example: when people were booking flights from the east coast to SIN on QF for <$400 through expedia Brazil, does a travel agent have access to this fare?


The second part of my question refers specifically to a friend who works for a TA and claims to be able to get much cheaper fares for themselves and family & friends. Accacdotally they have been able to but I'm sceptical. I have no idea what discount the TA would allow this employee to give but my assumption is that at best the agent might waive commission as an employee benefit? Otherwise surely the price is unlikely to be significantly better than what anyone with some time and effort could obtain themselves?
 

drron

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Messages
25,963
Solutions
1
Points
3,365
First I agree with Rooflyer.
As to TAs getting a special price-yes they can but comes with conditions.Our neice has been a TA for 30 years and is now GM of a large group.She certainly gets cheap fares for herself and parents but uncles unfortunately are not part of the deal.
 

NoName

Established Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Messages
1,789
Points
565
Do you have any idea how much cheaper they would be able to get?
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
17,743
Solutions
2
Points
2,800
Qantas
Platinum
First I agree with Rooflyer.
As to TAs getting a special price-yes they can but comes with conditions.Our neice has been a TA for 30 years and is now GM of a large group.She certainly gets cheap fares for herself and parents but uncles unfortunately are not part of the deal.

What this says :)
 

rabbits5

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2012
Messages
205
Solutions
1
Points
170
It is my understanding that TAs can often access rates for personal travel at AD75 and AD50.

Correct to this. I have a feeling it is on a space-available basis too for AD75, I think AD50 is conditionally firm.
 

ozbeachbabe

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
6,450
Points
855
What websites/systems do travel agents like flight centre have access to? Can they book through the expedia Brazils etc that people on this site seem to be able to utilise for such great fares? Or are they restricted to Australian based sites?

How much cheaper are they likely to be able to do as an employee benefit compared to what the average non-AFF traveler will be able to find with minimal effort? I assume all they'd be likely to do is perhaps waive the agency commission they receive from the airlines?

FC would not want anything to do with Expedia Brazil (or any other overseas travel site) as they would want to issue all their tickets via their own in-house consolidator so they can track sales which gives them the power to negotiate with airlines saying they gave them X amount of million dollars in business per year. I imagine they would also earn override commissions with some airlines for reaching certain targets but again that has to be tracked via their own consolidator.

Basically you need to do your own research into the other avenues available eg www.zuji.com www.expedia.com then ask FC if they can match it. They generally only match quotes of Australian based websites or businesses however it's always worth asking what they can do.

Correct to this. I have a feeling it is on a space-available basis too for AD75, I think AD50 is conditionally firm.

IMO it would be a waste paying for an AD50 as it would be way more than the cheapest commercial fare out there which is confirmed and would earn points & SC.

As for an AD75, it would depend what fare it was based on as to whether it would be better paying for a cheap commercial fare. The AD75 wouldn't be 25% of the cheapest fares eg red-e-deal or sale fares so again it could still be better to pay for a cheap commercial fare.
 
Last edited:
Credit cards which earn frequent flyer points is a popular way to earn frequent flyer points. You can receive thousands of points on everyday spend. And, many of these cards offer generous signup bonuses! Compare to find the credit card that best suits your needs.

Recommended by the Australian Frequent Flyer

trippin_the_rift

Established Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
3,893
Points
530
The best deals are often from sites that don't access GDS...

Hotels for example - to get the lowest possible rate takes 2 steps and a travel agent can't access this kind of pricing.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top